NEW YORK, June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association and leaders from its membership division, National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), will gather in Washington, D.C. on June 25-26 for Roll on Capitol Hill, to directly express to legislators the need for greater access to health care, wheelchairs, and policymakers -- critical to the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities.
Roll on Capitol Hill is in response to serious challenges by legislators to the equal rights ensured to people with disabilities by the 22-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act.
"We will not sit idle while policies are created that directly impact our lives. Our motto is 'do nothing about us, without us' and we plan to drive that message home at Roll on Capitol Hill," said Lex Frieden, United Spinal chairman of the board.
"We will not merely be there to complain. We will also share viable alternatives to misguided policies that keep people with disabilities institutionalized. We must ensure their rightful place in their communities, so that they have the opportunity to lead more independent and productive lives," said Joseph Isaacs, United Spinal VP of Public Policy.
United Spinal members are concerned about funding cutbacks and new managed care programs that threaten access to community-based services under Medicaid, as well as restrictive Medicare policies that arbitrarily limit access to wheelchairs and therapies critical to their health.
"Members of the disability community can play a vital part in shaping public policy on Capitol Hill, as well as the state and local level," said Paul J. Tobin, United Spinal president and CEO.
"We know that an informed, focused constituent can influence elected officials far better than any high paid Washington, DC lobbyist," Tobin added.
Roll on Capitol Hill participants will have the opportunity to speak directly with legislators and their staffs to voice their concerns on disability-related policies.
United Spinal's advocacy efforts during Roll on Capitol Hill will focus on:
- Maintaining civil rights protection for people with disabilities
- Fighting serious threats from Capitol Hill to cut Medicaid-supported home care services
- Ensuring Medicare adequately funds rehabilitation and appropriate wheelchairs
- Ensuring Medicare adequately funds medical equipment used by SCI/D community, such as catheters
- Ensuring adequate coverage of prescription drugs
- Eliminate the Cap on rehab payments for Medicare beneficiaries
Roll on Capitol Hill will begin with a legislative policy conference on June 25, with speakers such as:
- The Honorable Kathleen Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy
- Ellen Nissenbaum, Sr. Vice President for Government Affairs at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
June 26 will be devoted to Congressional visits and will conclude with an awards reception in the Cannon Caucus Room, 345 House Cannon Building.
- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) will receive the James J. Peter's Disability Champion Award
- Congressman John Carter (R-31st TX) will receive the VetsFirst Bronze Star Award
- Congressman James Langevin (D-2nd RI) will receive with the Junius Kellogg Outstanding Congressional Leadership Award
About United Spinal Association
United Spinal is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. It played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with SCI/D. United Spinal was instrumental in getting New York City to create sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation that has been used as a model for many United States cities.
SOURCE United Spinal Association