This morning, members of ADAPT – a leading grassroots disability rights organization – held a “Free Our People!” protest at The Heritage Foundation. The objective of the event was to call attention to the need for people with disabilities to be able to receive the quality treatment they need in the dignity and security of their homes and communities, as opposed to institutional settings.
Heritage President Kay Coles James, who has worked closely with the disability rights community for many years, invited leaders of the organization to her office. There, Mrs. James and senior members of the Heritage team met with Mike Oxford, Dawn Russell and Anita Cameron.
The following is Mrs. James’ statement about her meeting with ADAPT’s leaders:
“ADAPT’s message is a message for us all: ‘Free Our People’ is, in fact, the principle upon which this nation was founded. That’s why I was proud to tell Mike, Dawn and Anita that they are among friends here at Heritage.
“The Heritage Foundation has long supported health care reforms that empower individuals to control health care dollars and decisions. Our patients-first philosophy emphasizes the vital importance of enabling patients – not government officials – to determine where they can receive the treatment they need. This philosophy applies to all Americans, including people with disabilities who depend on the Medicaid program.
“Heritage has long believed the Medicaid program is in need of modernization. The program’s demographic, structural and fiscal challenges threaten its sustainability, now and well into the future. For example, when it was created in 1965, institutional care was made a mandatory benefit because few alternative options existed. Today, however, that is no longer the case. Thanks to numerous advances in the delivery and management of care, highly-skilled caregivers are serving millions of Americans in the security and dignity of their homes and communities.
“This patients-first philosophy is not a new position for The Heritage Foundation – it’s one we have developed and supported for decades. And the reason is simple: it is 100% consistent with our mission to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish! Like ADAPT, we believe all Americans – regardless of disability – should be free to live independent lives, age in place, and realize the gifts of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
“I look forward to meeting again soon with ADAPT and other advocates as we explore common-sense reforms that will replace government-dictated with consumer-driven healthcare. And, as I told Mike, Dawn and Anita, there is never a need to block Heritage’s doors. They’re always open, and a meeting is just a call away!”
Following the meeting, Mike Oxford made the following statement:
“We appreciate the courtesy and understanding of The Heritage Foundation to facilitate a meeting with Mrs. James and the senior staff. We discussed the shared values between ADAPT and Heritage, which include independence, freedom, self-sufficiency, and better outcomes for disabled Americans. We look forward to working with The Heritage Foundation to craft policy and research that moves us to toward a solution.”