13 June 2008

Where do the presidential candidates stand on disability issues?


I created this quick guide so that the disability community (including people with disabilities, parents, friends, and allies) can see what the candidates intend to do as relates to people with disabilities. While health care is a hot-button issue in this campaign, services for people with disabilities isn't. I started researching it because I was curious and I figured others would be interested as well.

First up are some resources for learning about the two 2008 presidential candidates and about people with disabilities and voting. Next up is some information about where the candidates stand on issues specifically relevant to the disability community: Health Care, Medicare, Medicaid, People With Disabilities, Injured and Disabled Veterans, and Autism. I have links back to the original sources where possible. Almost all this info comes from the candidates' own websites. Please let me know if this was helpful, what other issues I should add, or if you know any other relevant information or links that should be here by leaving a comment. Please share this with anyone in your life who you think may benefit from this guide. This post may be sent to others by clicking the little envelope at the bottom of the screen. Enjoy!

Resources:
The AAPD Presidential Election Action Center
AAPD Info About Accessible Voting
Dontblockmyvote.org, a UCP site about Accessible Voting
The ADA Checklist for Polling Places
Info About People With Developmental Disabilities and the Right To Vote
Info on Voting for People with Cognitive and Visual Disabilities

NY Times Election Guide to Candidates
Barack Obama on the issues
John McCain on the issues

Issues:

Health Care:

McCain: Too much to include. Check it out here. Note that his website states: "As President, John McCain Would Work With Governors To Find The Solutions Necessary To Ensure Those With Pre-Existing Conditions Are Able To Easily Access Care. "

Obama: Too much to include. Check it out here. Note that his website states: "
Guaranteed eligibility. No American will be turned away from any insurance plan because of illness or pre-existing conditions."

Medicare

McCain: Reforming The Payment System To Cut Costs. We must reform the payment systems in Medicaid and Medicare to compensate providers for diagnosis, prevention and care coordination. Medicaid and Medicare should not pay for preventable medical errors or mismanagement. (from here)

Obama:

  • "Obama will require that providers that participate in the new public plan, Medicare or the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) utilize proven disease management programs. This will improve quality of care, give doctors better information and lower costs.
  • Reforming The Payment System To Cut Costs. We must reform the payment systems in Medicaid and Medicare to compensate providers for diagnosis, prevention and care coordination. Medicaid and Medicare should not pay for preventable medical errors or mismanagement.
  • Finally, Obama will work to increase the use of generic drugs in Medicare, Medicaid, and FEHBP and prohibit big name drug companies from keeping generics out of markets.
  • Barack Obama is also committed to ensuring that disabled Americans receive Medicaid and Medicare benefits in a low-cost, effective and timely manner. Recognizing that many individuals with disabilities rely on Medicare, Obama worked with Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) to urge the department of health and human services to provide clear and reliable information on the Medicare prescription drug benefit and to ensure that the Medicare recipients were protected from fraudulent claims by marketers and drug plan agents." (from here)

Medicaid

McCain: Reforming The Payment System To Cut Costs. We must reform the payment systems in Medicaid and Medicare to compensate providers for diagnosis, prevention and care coordination. Medicaid and Medicare should not pay for preventable medical errors or mismanagement. (from here)

Obama:
  • "Expansion Of Medicaid and SCHIP: Obama will expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs and ensure that these programs continue to serve their critical safety net function.
  • Obama will work to increase the use of generic drugs in Medicare, Medicaid, and FEHBP and prohibit big name drug companies from keeping generics out of markets.
  • Barack Obama is also committed to ensuring that disabled Americans receive Medicaid and Medicare benefits in a low-cost, effective and timely manner." (from here)

Disabilities:

McCain: John McCain's home page does not include a section about disabilities. See his section on Veterans below.

Obama: Obama has a nine page document on his "Plan To Empower Americans With Disabilities." Here is the synopsis: "First, provide Americans with disabilities with the educational opportunities they need to succeed. Second, end discrimination and promote equal opportunity. Third, increase the employment rate of workers with disabilities. And fourth, support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities." (see links to read the whole plan)

Injured and Disabled Veterans:

McCain: "John McCain has been a leading advocate in the Senate for disabled veterans throughout his entire career. He fought for nearly fifteen years, introducing numerous bills, to ensure that veterans with service-connected disabilities can receive the retirement benefits that they have earned, as well as the disability compensation benefits that they are entitled to. He has also worked to ensure that veterans can have their disability claims processed in a timely manner, working with the VA to rectify its huge backlog of claims and providing additional resources for that purpose."

Obama: "Strengthen VA Specialty Care: Advances in technology have meant that the survival rate for U.S. servicemembers is higher now than in any previous conflict. There will be a long-term need for strengthened specialty care within the VA, including additional polytrauma centers as well as centers of excellence for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PTSD, vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging, women’s health and other specialized rehabilitative care. In the Senate, Barack Obama has supported the expansion of PTSD and TB centers of excellence and cosponsored an innovative bipartisan measure to encourage students specializing in vision care and rehabilitation to work in the VA. As president, he will expand the number of these centers of excellence and invest in specialty care." (from here)


Autism:

McCain: "As President, John McCain will work to advance federal research into autism, promote early screening, and identify better treatment options, while providing support for children with autism so that they may reach their full potential."

Obama: "Barack Obama believes that we can do more to help autistic Americans and their families understand and live with autism. He has been a strong supporter of more than $1 billion in federal funding for autism research on the root causes and treatments, and he believes that we should increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to truly ensure that no child is left behind."


Image: A woman in a wheelchair wearing a green sweater is starting to open a double door. The left door has a sign that reads "Polling Place Vote Here" and the right door has a big blue-wheelchair-guy sign.

3 comments:

Dynah said...

Thank you for this! Very helpful. I mean, I already know absolutely who I'm voting for, but this is really interesting.

william Peace said...

This is indeed helpful. The candidates websites are all exceptionally well organized and the links provided give readers a great short cut to important information. While this is helpful, I see a major disconnect in the way the candidates handle disability related matters. That is a wealth of information is available on line but try and figure out if a given campaign event is accessible and you are out of luck. No information is available about access at campaign events--I have tried to attend events and no one, and I mean not a single individual has a clue as to what access means much less whether an event is accessible or not. This disconnect makes me wonder why access is given prominence on line but in the real world it is simply ignored. Is this caused by the divide between the campaign organizers and those that host the events? Is it because the campaigns do not want disabled people present? I for one think this is a major problem--theory and ideas are great but as a person that uses a wheelchair I still need access to get in the door.

Erika said...

Excellent post and thoughtful analysis of the candidates' positions. It's an important post because I don't think that in the minds of able-bodied Americans, they weigh the factors that disabled Americans also have to deal with when it comes to health care. Bravo.