July 31, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


Last week, we told you that Governor Baker had filed legislation to greatly revamp MassHealth.  While the proposal is still very much alive it received a serious rebuke this week.  On Tuesday, Dennis Heaphy and I testified against the proposal.  Paul Spooner,  Executive Director  of MetroWest Center for Independent Living Center and many other advocates gave testimony.

On Wednesday, both the Massachusetts House and Senate soundly rejected this proposal.  MassHealth will still be holding listening sessions on August 4th and 16th.    

Most of our newsletter is dedicated to the defeat of efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  The best line of the week, about the GOP debacle, comes was from an acquaintance.  They noted that "The clowns were unable to put the car together to climb out of it."

Enjoy the victories my friends.  They happen too infrequently.  Take a deep breath and refresh your soul. We have many more battles to fight.

As always happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Editorial: In A Big Week ADAPT Was Immense

There have been many outstanding moments in the history of our community's struggle for freedom and equality. From the Civil War Invalid Corps refusal to wear uniforms other than their union soldier issued apparel to the Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet University, we have had our proud moments. But never has a disability rights group served as the conscience of a national struggle. That moment finally occurred this week, or at least the capstone occurred this week, as ADAPT brought down a seven-year hissy fit by the Republican Party to end the Affordable Care Act.

On Friday at approximately 1:30 A.M. Senator John McCain (recently diagnosed with brain cancer) joined with the courageous Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to cast their votes with 48 Democrats to end the greatest effort by far to end ObamaCare. The three Senators will be remembered for being Mitch McConnell's Waterloo. While the Senators delivered the coup de grace, they were not the real heroes. It was a band of scrappy, unbending, spirited people with disabilities who formed the soul of the battle to save Medicaid and public funding of health care in the United States. They placed their imperfect and battered bodies on the line to stop some of the most powerful disciples of Ayn Rand from decimating the very lifeline of independence for people with disabilities. They deserve to be elevated into the pantheon of disability rights.

We can take a moment and deep breath; our battle is far from over. Those who oppose Medicaid will be back. We will need our profiles in courage to ride again. There should be no doubt that for the first time in history we led the way. Our movement saved at least 16 million people from losing their health care. History may not remember their individual names, but tonight when we say our prayers, we should ask whatever deity we believe in to watch over our heroes.

John Winske
DPC News:  We Need Your Input on EVV 

MassHealth has contracted with a for-profit national corporation to manage most of the state's Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS). The corporation, Optum Government Solutions, will manage responsibilities once carried out by the state. This includes prior authorization of services including the new Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) system, which will use Global Positioning System (GPS) to track the start and end time, as well as location of services provided by PCAs for consumers. With limited exception, the state plans for all consumers and PCAs to use an electronic check in and check out device by the end of 2018.
The Disability Policy Consortium (DPC) is conducting a short survey aimed to understand consumer's awareness and opinions about the EVV system. The survey should take about 15 minutes to complete. This information will help guide our advocacy activities and we will report our findings to consumers. Please complete the survey once!
If you have any questions about EVV, we encourage you to call DPC and speak with Maggie Sheets or Lenny Somervell at 617-542-3822.

Net News: Disability-Rights Activists Are the Real Heroes

John Nichols of the Nation wrote an article highlighting ADAPT and Disability Action for America.  In the article he clearly gives our movement credit for spearheading the anti-repeal effort.  You can read it here.
Net News: Celebration

Okay, so this one is a little political but I have to share it. Colleen Flanagan and Colin Killick both are consultants to the DPC.  Both are incredible young advocates and played a role in defeating efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  The pure elation on their face is so rarely seen in the world of advocacy.  Both Colleen and Colin had gone to sleep before the Senate vote took place.  When they woke up to the news hilarity ensued.  As their friends, who love them immensely, thank you both.

The views expressed in the video are those of the author alone and do not represent the DPC. the DPC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates.
Net News: Women Disability Activists Front and Center in Resistance

Heather Watkins is the Vice President of the DPC and the co-Founder of Divas with DisAbilities.  She wrote this article for Women's Media Center sharing the stories of the leadership role played by women with disabilities of color.  Her outstanding article can be found here
Net News:  Massachusetts 20 Day Voter Registration Deadline Unconstitutional 

The Boston Globe reported this week that a Suffolk Superior Court judge has ruled that the Massachusetts law that requires that voters be registered at least 20 days before an election is unconstitutional.  The lawsuit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.  You can read more here.
Net News: Celebrating the ADA Everyday  

A reader sent me a link to this website which had some helpful information on the ADA.  Included was information on how the ADA can be used by a caregiver if they have a disability.  You can find the information here.
Employment Opportunity: CLW DHILS Program Openings   

Deaf & Hard of Hearing IL Services (DHILS) at the Center for Living & Working, Inc. has two new positions available:
  • A part time Deaf Skills Trainer position (20 hours per week)
  • A part time Hard of Hearing Skills Trainer position (20 hours per week)
To learn more about these positions, please go to CLW's website at www.centerlw.org.

Please email your resume, and cover letter to: opsearch@centerlw.org, or fax to: 508-797-4015, or mail to:

Center for Living & Working, Inc.
ATTN: Human Resources
484 Main Street Suite 345, Denholm Building
Worcester, MA 01608

Kim White
Staff Interpreter
Center for Living & Working, Inc.
484 Main Street, Suite 345
Worcester, MA 01608
Calendar:  MassHealth Listening Sessions

Listening session #1:

When:  Friday, August 4, 2017,  9:00-11:00 am

Where:  1 Ashburton Place, 21st floor, Boston

Conference Line: (888) 822-7517 / Participant Code: 163 4530#

Listening session #2:

When:  Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Where: Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Drive, Chicopee, MA

Conference Line: (888) 822-7517 / Participant Code: 163 4530#

For more information please see the editorial above.

Written comments are due by August 21st and can be emailed to kaela.konefal@state.ma.us.
Calendar:  Governor Charles D. Baker's Council Aging in Massachusetts - Community Listening Session

When:  August 2, 2017, 10:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.
Where: Elder Services of Berkshire County

Governor Charles D. Baker's Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts will hold listening sessions to hear ideas about how to make the Commonwealth the most livable state for people of all ages. Join us to make an impact on your community!

Specifically, we would like to hear about:
  • What factors make your community a great place to grow older?
  • How can we support families that include one or more older adults?
  • How can we promote more human connectedness (reduce loneliness, isolation) in communities?
  •  What are the top two issues or concerns that create barriers to people
  • being able to age well in their communities?
  • How can we accelerate innovation to support and connect older adults?
  • How can we change public perceptions about aging?
 If you are unable to attend please share your ideas by sending an email
to agingconversation@state.ma.us.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request.  Please
contact William Travascio at 617-222-7579 or at William.Travascio@MassMail.State.MA.US.
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