This administration – actually, the entire GOP with few exceptions – has been, and is, conducting a systematic campaign to dismantle protections and supports for people with disabilities. Of course, they have other targets as well – immigrants, people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ. But I’m going to focus on the disability aspect, because it doesn’t get as much attention, and of course, it has a very immediate effect on my life.
Let’s look at a list of changes the administration has made, or attempted to make, specifically targeting disabled people:
- Block grant or per capita caps on Medicaid (attempted)
- Allow health insurance to discriminate against/price out of the market people with preexisting conditions (attempted)
- Destabilize the insurance markets so that only people with preexisting conditions will remain buying full insurance packages, at unaffordable prices (accomplished by executive order)
- Cut Medicaid by trillions of dollars (in process – budget resolution passed by House and Senate)
- Cut Medicare (in process – budget resolution passed by House and Senate)
- Cut SSDI (in process – budget resolution passed by House and Senate)
- Cut SSI (in process – budget resolution passed by House and Senate)
- Weaken IDEA by getting rid of established guidelines for implementation (accomplished – rescinding of 72 Dear Colleague letters relating to special education)
Regarding the last one – the rescinded letters are already in the process of disappearing from the department of education’s website. You can find a list here: Dear Colleague Letters Since last night, many of the links to the letters have become unavailable. There’s a good chance that by the time anyone reads this blog post, they will all be gone.
Remember when the White House page on disabilities mysteriously disappeared?
I wish I could muster up a bitter joke about all of this, but truthfully I see no humor in it. There’s nothing funny about the people in control of the government having it out for you and your child. There’s just a continual ebb and flow of anger, grief, and fear, and a persistent chill.
The White House says this is about trimming away unnecessary bureaucracy. That’s not what it is. I dislike bureaucracy as much as anyone (maybe more than most, since I have to deal with it every day in the medical and school systems), but this is simply a stripping away of protections and supports from a particularly vulnerable population. A population that has fought hard, for decades, to have these protections in the first place.
I can’t get my brain around this level of selfishness, greed, lack of empathy. Sometimes I find myself staring into space asking no one in particular “Why do they hate us so much? Why?”
In reality, they probably don’t even care enough about us to hate us. Hatred expends too much energy.