Thursday, October 29, 2009

President signs hate crimes bill into law

President Barack Obama signed an expanded hate crimes bill into law Wednesday making it a federal offense to commit a crime against a person based on their disability. The law entitled the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, expands current hate crimes law to include violence based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. The law is named after two murder victims from 1998 who were targeted for attack because of bigotry. Federal law already includes protections for crimes committed based on race, color, religion or national origin.

President Obama Stated, “No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love. No one in America should be forced to look over their shoulder because of who they are or because they live with a disability. At root, this isn't just about our laws; this is about who we are as a people. This is about whether we value one another -- whether we embrace our differences, rather than allowing them to become a source of animus.”

Quoting President Johnson from when he signed civil rights legislation into law in 1968, Obama said that "the bells of freedom ring out a little louder," when he signed the Act into law.

“You understood that we must stand against crimes that are meant not only to break bones, but to break spirits -- not only to inflict harm, but to instill fear,” Mr. Obama said, “You understand that the rights afforded every citizen under our Constitution mean nothing if we do not protect those rights -- both from unjust laws and violent acts. And you understand how necessary this law continues to be. “

People with disabilities are 50 percent more likely to experience nonfatal violent crime than those without disabilities, according to a Justice Department study released in early October. The study found that about one in five crime victims with disabilities believe their disability was the reason they were targeted.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You Tube Video on Healthcare

Heather Graham stars as the Public Option in this funny ad, showing how she'll force the lazy, bloated private insurance companies to get back in the game and compete.
After all, competition is as American as apple pie.
Featuring actor Peter Coyote as the narrator

Act Now to Ensure the CFC Option and CLASS ACT Remain in Healthcare Reform!

Call Sen. Shelby and Sen. Sessions, today, and ask for their support!

You may call toll-free (thanks to Families USA): 1-800-828-0498 or use the
Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121.


I am calling to urge Senator _________ to ensure that both the CLASS Act and
the Community First Choice Option are included in the final healthcare
reform bill in the Senate. People with disabilities who need long term
and supports now or in the future should be:

1. a part of the solution;
2. able self-determine the services and supports that they really want;
3. able to have the freedom to choose where they want to live.

Background Information

This week the Senate Finance and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions (HELP) Committees are merging their separate healthcare reform
bills into one single bill that will go to the Senate floor to be debated as
early as next week. Two critical provisions that change the way long term
services are delivered and funded for people with disabilities are included.
These two provisions complement one another and must be a part of the final
Senate bill!

The Finance Committee bill includes the Community First Choice (CFC)
Medicaid Option. This state option will allow the states to offer broadly
defined attendant services and supports in one's home or community setting
to individuals eligible for nursing home, ICFs/MR, and other institutional
level care. To encourage the states to implement the CFC Option, the state
will receive a 6 percent increase in its federal medical assistance
percentage (FMAP) match for services provided under this option. The CFC
moves us one step closer to ending the institutional bias in Medicaid!

The Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee's bill includes the
Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS) Act. The CLASS
Act would create a solvent, affordable, premium-based, national insurance
providing a cash benefit that can be used for assistance with the
activities of daily living. This helps state Medicaid budgets because many
people will have a way to avoid becoming impoverished by spending down to
Medicaid eligibility levels. The CLASS Act complements the CFC Option and
Medicaid, Medicare, and private long term care insurance.