McCain on Rights of the Disabled

This is all you need to know about John McCain's stance on disability rights:

A wheel-chair bound woman asked McCain about the Community Choice Act, a piece of legislation for disabled Americans that would give individuals greater freedom on where to live. “What that would do is it would end the institutional bias,” the questioner said, then asked him if he would consider supporting it.

“I will not,” McCain responded, “because I don’t think it’s the right kind of legislation.” A trio of people in wheelchairs left the room shortly after his response.

It's not "the right kind of legislation" because it would actually be useful. The Wall Street Journal response, naturally enough, is not to criticize McCain's position, or even to suggest that it might merit criticism, but to applaud his "straight talk."

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    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:06:42 AM EST
    This bill is such a left-wing exercise in socialism that Pat Roberts is a cosponsor.

    The companion bill in the House is cosponsored by Marilyn Musgrave.  When, oh when, will those lefties stop trying to jam their agenda down our throats?

    Even Joe Lieberman (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by weltec2 on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:15:18 AM EST
    is a co-sponsor frhvnzakes! I see Hillary on there. Where is Obama's name? He's too busy. He's on the campaign trail. I know.

    McCain seems to take a lot of positions (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by SoCalLiberal on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:24:43 AM EST
    that are against his two biggest lifelines, Governor Gropenfuhrer and Senator Loserman.  Gropenfuhrer can teach him GOP survival tactics and Loserman can be used to consistently bash the Democrats.  He runs a campaign that is truly tonedeaf.  

    McCain's position (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by weltec2 on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:40:52 AM EST
    "because I don't think it's the right kind of legislation" is not an answer. What would the right kind of legislation be for him. He doesn't say. The same thing happened with the Nam Vet who asked him why he didn't support the Vet Benefits Bill. He gave no answer.

    In a way he has a good croud-side manner. But he's almost petulant in his refusal to say anything. In 2000 we got answers. Now its as though he doesn't know what the answers are. He only knows the talking points.


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by SoCalLiberal on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:48:59 AM EST
    I have a feeling that his next big move will be to bring out a prominent Democrat to endorse him, my money will be on Gary Condit.  

    I thought that McCain objected to the... (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by EL seattle on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:44:21 AM EST
    ...Vet Benefit bill because he thought that the required length of service was too short, and that it would encourage "short-term-and-out" military service.  But maybe that was another bill?

    One way or another, McCain should issue a detailed explaination of his position.  I can understand his not wanting to get sidetracked at a live event with a detailed explaination of a specific bill and his specific objections to it.  That might be too much information for an event where a lot of folks had a lot of questions about different things.

    But now that he's on record, there's an opening for reporters to press him for details... If they want to.


    He was afraid (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by weltec2 on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 05:14:07 AM EST
    Vets wouldn't re-enlist. They would quit after their original terms and go off to college. Since there is no draft at present, the army would be short of men.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:31:09 AM EST
    Joe Lieberman is actually a pretty doctrinaire Dem on kitchen-table issues like this, particularly where senior citizen issues are at stake.  I'm not at all surprised to see his name on the list.

    Most of the cosponsors of this legislation are Democrats, but you can't help but notice that there's plenty of Blue Dogs in the mix.  I don't want to make too much of this particular bill, but this general type of legislation really is the bread and butter of the Democratic Party.


    Nice (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by SoCalLiberal on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:06:56 AM EST
    There's enough media spin to go around.  

    You have one party that can not lose nominate a candidate who normally can not win and a party that can not win nominate a candidate who normally can not lose.  And both are pretty much running tonedeaf campaigns.  It's kind of like watching a political version of Jerry Springer or the OC.  

    Ok, now he really is like Reagan, who (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:11:28 AM EST
    was quite a heartless, cruel man.

    Lol (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by SoCalLiberal on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:15:26 AM EST
    I hate Reagan but after seeing this youtube clip, I kinda understand how he became president.


    Is it just me or prior to the 1990's were women supposed to act stupid on tv?


    I didn't look at the bill but I looked at the (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:59:22 AM EST
    link in the Original Post and I read this part:  

    The Community Choice Act is about individual CHOICE.  It allows an individual to choose to receive their care in the community, rather than in an institutional setting.  There is nothing in the Act, which takes away the right of an individual to receive their services in an institutional setting, if they so choose.

    "We have all advocated for the Community Choice Act for many years and we all look forward to the day when no one remains in a nursing home or other institution who wishes to live in their own home.  I believe this important legislation has a real chance in passing through this Congress and will enable people with disabilities to have a choice to remain in their homes, in their communities with quality support services" says NCIL President Kelly Buckland.

    You realize, of course, that many people in a nursing home require 24-hour care.  If they choose to remain in their home, they will still require 24-hour care only now taxpayers will pay for it.  That's 3 nurses a day (8 hour shifts) plus additional nurses on the weekend.  Essentially, taxpayers will be paying the salaries of 6 nurses PER PATIENT.  Instead of splitting the cost of 6 nurses working with multiple patients, you are now going to be paying for 6 nurses PER PATIENT.    

    That's crazy!

    I used to feel really sorry for families of handicapped kids until I stumbled across a Webring for a particular disease (can't remember which one) and I got to read a lot of family stories.  Most of these kids with this disease died young and quickly -- but one family, even after discovering this was a genetic thing with them, continued to have another kid -- and their kids lived a LONG time!  The oldest one was approximately 14 when I read the story.  You would think that they would be broke with two handicapped kids -- but no!  They had a new house, round the clock care for the kids, VACATIONS, new van, new everything.  The public school system was forced to teach these kids (who were basically hooked up to life support) on a daily basis with special teachers.  (I think the parents sued for this.)  Can you imagine how much public money is being spent on these two kids who probably won't live to be 21?  Why??!!  How will we ever have minimum healthcare for everyone when we are willing to waste millions of dollars on extraordinary care for a couple of kids who won't ever have productive lives?  And how do these people get FREE houses?  FREE vans?  FREE everything?  I know married couples with healthy kids who would KILL to get a vacation!

    Anyway, I think Reagan made a huge mistake when he let the mentally ill loose in the communities.  They should have been kept in institutionalized care.  (That's why there were so many mentally ill homeless people back in the early '80s.)  

    I hope McCain doesn't think he's just gonna set every nursing home institutionalized patient out on the street just because Reagan might have done that.          

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:17:14 AM EST
    I am rather skeptical that this bill would actually provide each and every disabled person with 24/7 in-home care at taxpayer expense.  Call it a hunch.

    Gov of California (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by weltec2 on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:31:43 AM EST
    "Reagan made a huge mistake when he let the mentally ill loose in the communities.  They should have been kept in institutionalized care."

    Actually Reagan did that when he was Governor of the State of California in the sixties. He gutted the mental hospitals. There was aboslute chaos. Homelessness and crime rose to staggering proportions... and then we made him President of the United States so that he could do to the whole country what he did to the State of California.


    It was a disaster (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:47:49 AM EST
    I worked in one of the areas that ended up with a lot of mentally ill homeless people.  It was awful.  

    I can't even begin to tell you how awful it was but it was awful.  

    I always blamed that on Reagan.  


    It was so insane (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 04:32:05 AM EST
    After Reagan released them, I worked in an area where they congregated.  It was crazy!  Everyday was a new experience!  

    I actually kind of miss the woman with the tin foil in her hair who thought that people were contacting her that way!    


    Dalton, let's you and me argue it (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:45:28 AM EST
    I don't really understand the bill either but we'll find out what it is.  Do you want to be FOR or AGAINST the bill?  

    I'll take the against side if you don't want it.  (I'll take the other side too, but the other side is the Dem side and that might be easier to argue.)  


    I'm ready to go to sleep too (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:58:32 AM EST
    but I just put a post as a question to Jeralyn and BTD -- Maybe they'll give us some space to debate?  It would be fun.  I'll take the Against side even though I don't know much about the bill at all.  

    It doesn't really matter, you know?  It's a debate!

    If we wait a couple of days and do some research, we'd be able to have a really good debate.  That would be fun!  

    Maybe I should e-mail Jeralyn?  


    I can "kind of" understand (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 04:16:59 AM EST
    this with mental illnesses but on the other hand, I have a hard time understanding this with physical illnesses.  

    On top of what I just said -- Maybe I CAN'T understand this with mental illnesses.

    I worked at a company that hired a guy with brain damage.  He looked perfectly normal to anyone but he lacked long and short term memory.  He showed up for a minimum wage janitorial job with three trainers.  His job?  Clean the bathrooms, etc.  (The trainers were state paid and probably made at least $50K a year.)    

    He ran into problems with the idea of clocking into work.  He forgot how to do it.  His next problem was cleaning the bathrooms.  He'd get in there and forget what he was doing.  Clean sink?  Nah.  Clean toilet?  Nah.  Clean floor?  Nah.  He needed someone to tell him what to do every step of the way.  He had no short term memory.  If you said "Clean the toilet" -- if he didn't start cleaning it right that minute he'd forget it.  He had, literally, no memory.  

    It was really silly because the state sent him out with three trainers who were doing most of the work because he wasn't doing any of it.  We'd say "Clean the bathroom" and one of the state trainers would clean the bathroom while he looked on but he did nothing.

    I wonder if most Americans realize how much some of these programs to employ the handicapped cost us?  Seriously....    


    If we ever expect to get (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:07:10 AM EST
    Universal Healthcare in this country, we are going to have to learn to draw the line somewhere!

    There isn't enough money to give everyone everything they would like to have!

    There was a kid who died not long ago because he had an abcessed tooth and the infection spread to his brain.  Because there wasn't enough money (Medicaid) to pay for his dental work, he never got a filling he needed.  

    In the meantime though, we waste millions keeping alive people who should have died long ago if it wasn't for extraordinary care.  

    Seriously, where do we draw the line??!!    

    As a post script (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:39:44 AM EST
    I should tell you that the thing that really appalled me was that this couple seemed to use these two handicapped kids as...  a profit opportunity?  

    They had Christmas photos where they plopped these two kids (neither of whom could breathe or move on their own) in front of the Christmas tree on a beanbag chair.  They would take photos of the kids laying on a bed with stuff surrounding them (that the kids can't touch or do anything with because, gee, they can't move their arms or anything else).  They took all sorts of active vactions with the kids where the kids couldn't do anything (like going to the Grand Canyon -- those kids couldn't even see it unless someone showed them in a mirror).  The vacation shots were all like "Here's me & hubby kayaking in the wilderness and here is Josh looking at us from his wheelchair!"  (Only these kids were so bad off, they didn't even have wheelchairs.  They had like wheelbeds.)  

    What's worse was that this wasn't the only family who continued to have kids with this genetic defect.  Other families did too.  Other families didn't set up blogs to track their entire "family journey" but this wasn't a one family thing.

    Why would anyone with a genetic defect that is almost certain to show up in all of their kids continue to have more kids?

    I don't want people to think that I have something against the disabled.  I don't.  I have something against people who use a disability for money making purposes.  I thought raising a handicapped child was supposed to be a struggle but it certainly isn't that when you get a free house, free car, free food and free everything else.  Free nursing care really helps too.  Where is the struggle?  Is it because your child is going to die eventually?  Everyone is going to die eventually!  I hardly consider a mother who has to spend a few hours with her disabled child on an irregular basis to be struggling (which pretty much spelled out this family).  

    Anyway, if you can't already tell, that one webring pretty much sucked a lot of the compassion out of me.  

    I feel much worse about the kid who died because he couldn't get dental care.  The others I consider to be "professionally sick."            


    "I don't want people to think (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by camellia on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 07:19:14 AM EST
    that I have something against the disabled ......"  

     Why ever would we think that?  People with children with dire physical or mental illnesses?  Profiting from their children's disabilities?  The mentally ill put out on the streets?  Awful!  Why "awful"?  You don't tell us that .... was it because they bothered you and your comfortable life?  Yes, it was and IS awful, but because these are people with real and quantifiable illnesses, as real and quantifiable as broken legs or cancer, and they too deserve to be given treatment and kindness and help.  If the citizens of this country deserve the chance at "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", so do all our citizens, whole or hurting.

    Grace, these posts of yours on this topic have shocked me.  I have a child with a severe mental illness.  After many years of struggle(hers and ours), she is now living in the community and building a life for herself.  She has "trainers" too -- they are people who help to guide her as she learns to make decisions on her own, against the day when my husband and I won't be here to help.   We don't live in a "free" house, nor do we exploit our daughter.  Au contraire -- we have made many sacrifices in order to get care for her.  Did you ever consider that the people to whom you refer so scathingly might LOVE their kids?  That they "plop them in front of the Christmas tree" because they are PROUD of what they and the kids have been able to achieve?

    One of the things this country seems to lack is a societal sense of compassion.   I don't know enough about this bill, but I am about to spend time finding out about it, and trying to find out also why Senator McCain is against it.  


    Thank you for this - (none / 0) (#43)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 11:29:27 AM EST
    Grace's comments were shocking, and I hope what you have shared from your own life will open her eyes - and her heart - a little.

    I'm a total nuudge, but I guess you wouldn't (none / 0) (#51)
    by Grace on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:57:52 AM EST
    get that reading my comments.  Ha!  Oh well, I'm trying to provide the flip side of being "For" this particular bill.  

    I don't know anything about the bill either (none / 0) (#50)
    by Grace on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:54:03 AM EST
    except for two little pieces I read online, so I'm only speaking from my personal perspective.  

    As far as what you asked here:  

    The mentally ill put out on the streets?  Awful!  Why "awful"?  You don't tell us that .... was it because they bothered you and your comfortable life?  

    Actually, it wasn't because of "my comfortable life."  It was because they were living in a squalid gang-ridden neighborhood in the middle of Los Angeles with absolutely no assistance at all.  I worked in the neighborhood by choice but I would never have chosen to live there because it was a dangerous neighborhood.  In the year I worked there, seven people were killed on the block I worked on (or the surrounding streets).  Not only were these people mentally ill but most of them were older -- 50's through 80's in age.  I was only in my early 20's at the time and a newcomer to LA -- but it was really shocking to me.  And people explained it to me:  Reagan thought they should be able to live outside of the institutions so this is where they ended up.  But I had to wonder if watching an old woman lose her shopping cart with all her worldly belongings in heavy traffic is really the life she wants to live?  She didn't have a choice.  Ronnie said "Out you go!"  

    As far as your situtation, to me that is the typical situation.  What I presented was an "atypical one" but like someone else said, there are (or used to be) welfare queens who drove Cadillacs.  For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how this one family (the one I wrote about) got so many things from their state.  Most people I know in similar situations have NOT had that experience.  It's usually a struggle.

    Anyway, I'd love to hear what you find out about the bill.  I don't know much about it either.        


    This isn't regarding (none / 0) (#28)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 04:27:43 AM EST
    universal health care.  This is regarding the "Community Choice Act."  

    The two are entirely different.  


    "The Wrong Kind Of Legislation" (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by creeper on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 06:42:53 AM EST
    Well, of course!  You can't be passing laws like this.  You'll have those people in wheelchairs living right next door to you!

    What's wrong with people in wheelchairs? (none / 0) (#52)
    by Grace on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:01:31 AM EST
    Most people have handicapped people, including those in wheelchairs, living in their communities.

    I think, to be living in a nursing home, you have to be handicapped beyond "using a wheelchair."  

    Plenty of people use wheelchairs and can handle most things fine on their own without a whole lot of help.    


    Here's something I found that explains (5.00 / 8) (#33)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 07:09:11 AM EST
    what the CCA would do (bolding is mine):

    For decades, people with disabilities, both old and young, have wanted alternatives to nursing homes and other institutions when they need long term services. Our long term care system has a heavy institutional bias. Every state that receives Medicaid MUST provide nursing home services, but community based services are optional. Sixty five percent of Medicaid long term care dollars pay for institutional services, while the remaining 25% must cover all the community based waivers, optional programs, etc.

    Families are in crisis. When support services are needed there are no real choices in the community. Whether a child is born with a disability, an adult has a traumatic injury or a person becomes disabled through the aging process, they overwhelmingly wan t their attendant services provided in their own homes, not nursing homes or other large institutions. People with disabilities and their families will no longer tolerate being forced into selecting institutions. It's time for Real Choice.

    The Community Choice Act provides an alternative and will fundamentally change our long term care system and the institutional bias that now exists. Building on the Money Follows the Person concept, the two million Americans currently residing in nursing homes and other institutions would have a choice. In addition, people would not be forced into institutions in order to get out on community services; once they are deemed eligible for the institutional services, people with disabilities and their families will be able to choose where and how they receive services. Instead of making a new entitlement, the Community Choice Act, makes the existing entitlement more flexible.

    The Community Choice Act establishes a national program of community-based attendant services and supports for people with disabilities, regardless of age or disability. This bill would allow the dollars to follow the person, and allow eligible individuals, or their representatives, to choose where they would receive services and supports. Any individual who is entitled to nursing home or other institutional services will now be able to choose where and how these services are provided.

    Grace, I was more than a little disturbed at some of what you wrote in your comments.  I don't know if you have children, but I have two - thankfully, both normal and healthy and in their 20's - but the things you describe about the parents of the disabled children sound like nothing more than people who love their kids and want to give them as normal a life as possible - even if that doesn't make sense to you.  That means holidays and vacations and yes - even school.

    Maybe you didn't mean it to come across this way, but I felt you would have preferred these people just shut their kids in a room and wait for them to die - made me very uncomfortable.

    CCA saves money (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by stxabuela on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 09:55:19 AM EST
    Many physically disabled individuals don't need 24/7 care, just assistance with bathing, dressing, housekeeping, etc.  In many cases, it's just a couple of hours of home health care in the mornings and evenings.  It also prevents the isolation felt in institutionalized settings.  

    I have a severely autistic teenaged relative.  We all help caring for him, but what happens when we are gone?  The best case scenario would be placement in a group home as an adult, but the wait time is 12 to 14 years.  The other option is institutional care in a state school that is seriously understaffed and plagued by charges of patient mistreatment and neglect.

    With CCA, the caretaking services he requires would be provided, freeing family members to live a slightly more normal life.  I'd love to return to teaching (special ed, as a matter of fact,) but someone has to be available as a caretaker at all times.  In our case, home providers or a group home placement would be a lot less expensive than institutional care.    


    Reading the summary page from that weblink... (4.00 / 1) (#42)
    by EL seattle on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 10:53:49 AM EST
    ...it seems to me that this bill (in it's current form) would a require a wide range of additional bureaucracy that would be very expensive to monitor.  (http://www.adapt.org/casa/summary.htm)

    For instance - "5) Allows consumers to choose among various service delivery models including vouchers, direct cash payments, fiscal agents and agency providers. All models are required to be consumer controlled."

    Financially, it almost sounds like a combination of home-schooling and school voucher ideas.  Good intentions, but open to a lot of abuses if there's not a new army of travelling inspectors to make sure everything is up to specs.


    Anne, once again (none / 0) (#35)
    by camellia on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 07:21:40 AM EST
    you have written something so pertinent, so thoughtful, so kind, that I am amazed and grateful.

    This thread has a nasty tone to it (5.00 / 6) (#38)
    by wurman on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 08:57:15 AM EST
    Much of what's posted here looks very similar to the "welfare queen" stories of the 1970s & 1980s.

    I know a little bit about this stuff in 3 ways.

    My ex-wife runs (manages) a series of group homes for a variety of disabled people who used to be in state institutions.  The gamut is from those with mental disorders to developmentally disabled to crippling diseases to accidentally crippled.  In general, the average financial impact is to reduce taxpayer costs from about $200,000 per year to about $55,000 per year for the 65 or 70 people in her caseload--do the arithmetic. And, yes, there are some disturbingly failed efforts at training & education of severely limited people that become newspaper articles or television stories. Such misguided attempts do not warrant trashing the programs.

    A neighbor attended some "caregiver" course at a community college & has an associate degree in somesuch.  She scurries to 3 different homes 3 times per day to prepare meals, give baths, change colostomy bags, give injected meds, etc.  Her work keeps 3 disabled people out of the institutions, in their own homes, & financially independent.  According to her, the quality of life for those 3 is huge, orders of magnitude beyond "warehousing" in a charnel house.

    In my area there is a Visiting Nurses Assoc.  As I understand it from a couple of them, they go into homes & provide medical care to such a large variety of different levels of disability that it's impossible to generalize.  Each & every one of these "patients" is effectively removed from expensive institutional care.  One of the nurses told me that her work with in-home post-operative care saves the state medicaid & the federal medicare programs millions of dollars per year.

    Finally, a few of my neighbors have a simple program, Meals-on-Wheels, that keeps a couple of them in their homes instead of in a nursing facility.

    It seems to me that focusing on a few hundred, or even a few thousand, "apparently" over-reaching attempts at independence from institutions is just churlish.

    This legislation will support progams that have been proven to work & save money for government programs & insurers.  It allows disabled & ill people to be free & independent.  It's a good idea.

    My daughter is retarded: (5.00 / 5) (#40)
    by Molly Pitcher on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 10:03:53 AM EST
    no PC synomyms needed.  Our county runs a superior program--from early intervention up to the point where the 'client' must enter a nursing home or hospice.  My daughter lives in one of many 'community training homes' that house 4 people each and is staffed by caretakers who work 8 hour shifts when the residents are not at their day programs.  I was told recently that the state contributes $55000 per year to the county for the care of each resident.  In addition, the county can deduct $800 from each person's monthly income--SS, SSI, etc.  Recently our state decided to begin deducting medicare monthly premiums from residents' incomes--something my daughter can afford, but in general is a new cost for the county to absorb.

    In other words, my daughter's care costs the state around $150 a day, with another $27 a day coming from my deceased husband's SS.  What does the state get for their generosity?  Intangibles, mainly, at first glance.  A contented adult woman whose siblings know they will not someday have to integrate her into their homes and put everyone through a major ordeal of adjustment.  A mother who after 43 years of child care is finally free of continual concern.

    What would it have been like if I had had to put her in an institution?  I don't know that I could have done that unless I could no longer care for myself.  But what cost to the state if I had had to go the institutional route?  I believe the figure that Wurman gives of $200,000 per year per 'patient' is pretty near correct.

    I just returned from a trip--a last tribute to my niece who died of brain cancer--and I have not read all the way thru this thread.  But I get the impression from Wurman that some maybe think that care for the disabled is money down the drain.  All I can answer is that to be human is to be heir to all the ills and accidents of life; if 'it' happens to you, THEN you give thanks that the disabled are now considered to have rights as citizens.  And THEN you will learn that respecting these rights not only helps those who are disabled, but that society's care affects entire families, neighborhoods, and communities--freeing family members, possibly making the disabled into productive citizens, and creating new jobs for caretakers, etc.


    I am so glad to see the comments (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 10:33:19 AM EST
    of wurman, Molly Pitcher and stxabuela, which provide first-person examples of the importance of this legislation, and also bring a much-needed element - compassion - to the discussion.

    People with physical or mental problems who cannot function on their own without help are not animals to be kenneled; they are human beings who deserve respect and dignity and compassionate care.  Community-based care is a flexible and sensible and financially prudent approach that just reeks of common sense - which is maybe why there is opposition to it.

    I have to tell you that I was listening to McCain's town hall on the radio yesterday, and I heard the question on this subject.  It was asked by a woman who had problems of her own - given that it was radio, I obviously could not see her, but she seemed to struggle to breathe.  I found myself holding my own breath waiting to see how McCain would respond, and was offended with his response when he did.  It was curt and cold and unfeeling.

    Then I came to this thread today, and found comments that were equally offensive; I simply do not know what to make of Grace's comments - which just made me feel sick inside - but I hope she will return to read the comments of those who have lived these kinds of situations.  

    To wurman and Molly Pitcher and stxabuela, thank you for speaking up.

    Jeralyn BTD whoever (none / 0) (#24)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:51:18 AM EST
    Why don't you set aside a section of this blog where some of us can debate issues?  Dalton and I could debate the pros and cons of this bill which would be a lot of fun...

    Except I'm ready to go to bed now!  (Boo hoo hiss!:)  Can you figure out a way to do this?  

    Hmm (none / 0) (#32)
    by jarober on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 07:00:58 AM EST
    Things that mystify Matt: the idea that some things might be handled more appropriately at a level of government other than federal.

    wow, McCain is a horrible politician (none / 0) (#36)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 07:32:47 AM EST
    Inartful would be generous. This guy cracks me up every time he stumbles through something like this. I think he needs some handlers. Of course the "straight talk" is what people like. But when your none answer causes a pile of people to leave, you just might be doing something a bit off. If he has an issue with the legislation, he might want to think about, oh, I don't know, explaining it.

    The reference to Reagan above is right on. This is the sort of stuff Reagan would do. Except then all the press would swoon over him as he insulted or was cruel. McCain doesn't have that kind of skill despite the WSG comment.

    Hopefully if he's elected, it will be a short, get nothing through congress, one term only ride. Actually given the economy and the war and all sorts of yet to be discovered Bush disasters, I think who ever gets elected will be a one termer.

    McCain't Be Caving In To Elderly Crips (none / 0) (#37)
    by tokin librul on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 08:14:58 AM EST
    There probably aren't enough of 'em to matter anyway...

    Tough issue.... (none / 0) (#44)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 12:03:57 PM EST
    Grace is getting piled on but she raises an important point...where do we draw the line?

    I'm a bleeding heart when it comes to this stuff, I'd like to see all disabled persons be able to live on their own with whatever assistance they need from us, the community.  Institutionalized care in state-run hospitals is often heartless and crappy, imo, and no one should be forced to be institutionalized unless they are violent or a threat to others.  I don't believe in welfare for able-bodied adults, but I'm a firm believer for children, the disabled, the sick, and the old.

    However, the money has got to come from somewhere.  If it were up to me I'd give up the DEA, NSA, ICE (pick your tyrannical acronym) to fund this program...but it's not up to me.

    If McCain is opposed because he wants other spending cut to offset the new spending, I might be inclined to agree with him.

    I'm going to... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 02:46:58 PM EST
    ...have to disagree with you on this one, my friend.  There shouldn't be a line--these are living, breathing human beings that have as much of a right to life, liberty and happiness as any able bodied/minded person.  

    We should find the funding to allow them to live as normal of a life as possible.  Do Congresspeople need million of dollars every year for franking in this day and age?  I say no.  Or, like you say--cut the DEA or ATF budgets.  People first!

    As to Grace, well she is a self-described "fiscal conservative".  A fine example of compassionate conservatism at that.  


    It's not a difficult choice. (none / 0) (#46)
    by wurman on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:11:51 PM EST
    How 80 percent of the USA citizens can describe themselves as "christian" & then allow our elected officials to treat the least capable of our people as prisoners is measurably wrong.

    To see so obviously how the European nations can handle these things, effortlessly, is quite an object lesson.  The USA mortality & morbidity rates slip to the bottom of the list for modern economies & we don't even have a "healthcare" system that's functional.  The USA infant mortality rate is below that of many 3rd world countries & our "leaders" can't find solutions.

    And now legislation such as this has opponents.

    Who are these people?


    I'm not opposed.... (none / 0) (#48)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 05:02:36 PM EST
    I just want a corresponding cut in other spending...like bulding a few less bombers or prisons, preferably.

    Where is the Democrat with the courage to say disabled Americans are more important, and a better investment of our collective funds, than another weapons program or drug bust?  Nah...easier to add some zeros for the next generation to pay off...who wants to sacrifice anything when China will loan us the money.


    There's gotta be a line Mile.... (none / 0) (#47)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 03:41:15 PM EST
    First, like I said I'm all for helping people who can't help themselves and putting people first.  No argument there brother. But of course there is a line...we should feed the hungry, but not filet mignon, if you catch my drift.  You and I probably draw the line at around the same spot, but there is most definitely a line.

    Should we just borrow another 100 million (or whatever amount) from China to pay for it?  I've got a fiscal conservative streak in me too, I believe the govt. under no circumstances should spend more than it collects.  

    I'm all for this program, but we have to either raise taxes or cut other spending to pay for it.  Sh*t, the man can raise my taxes a percent or two if I know for sure it's going to allow a person with a severe disability to live at home instead of a state hospital...but we need to be honest about what it costs and make it happen responsibly.  We can't just green light the program and add it to the debt we are passing along to future generations.  That's just as wrong as letting a disabled person rot in a dingy state hospital.


    I wasn't going to say (none / 0) (#49)
    by camellia on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 07:11:28 PM EST
    anything more, but the comments of Molly, stxabuela, and others (sorry, I didnt make notes of names) have emboldened me.  My daughter with a major mental illness from the age of 14 spent a number of years in a state institution -- no, we didn;t choose that for her, but the choice was that or bankruptcy for the family because our excellent health insurance (the same Cadillac program enjoyed by Congress) would pay for only two months in a private hospital), and at $7,000 per month in those days....  you get my drift.  When we die, our estates, and I use the term for lack of a better one,  will be liable for the cost of those years in a state institution -- considerably more than will be available.  Her protection will be gone, and we face that knowledge every day.

    I have lived in seven countries, and the only one in which I have lived that approaches this country's dismal state of care for people who are less than rich is Indonesia.    Pre-natal care?  Infant mortality?  Quality of life?  Expectations of longevity?  

    I don't want to wish ill to any one, but sometimes I have the sneaking hope that fiscal conservatives will be faced with the choices in life that many of us are forced to make, so that they will perhaps learn something about compassion.  So.