Learn and Care about Obama Policy for People with Disabilities

November 13, 2008 at 4:34 PM Leave a comment

Presidential candidate Barack Obama and his team took the time to write a comprehensive document of his policy positions for Persons with Disabilities.   Now that he will be assuming the role of president come January, we, as people interested in these issues, should take a good long look at them.

Reviewing these policies gives us a very clear indication of what President-elect Obama aspires to accomplish for people with disabilities.  But intention is just the first step towards accomplishment.  If you are a realist like me, after reviewing this lengthy laundry list, you can see there’s a lot of work to do.  No president can move these mountains alone and perhaps we can begin by asking ourselves some questions.

Which of these policies take priority and are closest to our heart?

Can you imagine how these changes would impact people’s lives?

What role might we play in keeping these issues alive and active?

President-elect Obama summaries his position as striving to, “ … provide Americans with disabilities with the greatest possible access to the same opportunities as those without disabilities.”  And he focuses on four key categories: education, discrimination, employment and independence.  Here’s the top line:

(1) Providing Americans with disabilities the educational opportunities they need to succeed:
Fully Funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities
Support Universal Screening
Support Vocational Rehabilitation Programs
Provide College Opportunities for High School Graduates with Disabilities
Authorize a Comprehensive Study of Students with Disabilities and Transition to Work and Higher Education

(2) Ending discrimination and promoting equal opportunity:
Restoring the Americans with Disabilities Act
Appointing Judges and Justices Who Respect Laws Designed to Protect People with Disabilities
Increasing Funding for Enforcement
Supporting the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
Guaranteeing Health Care Coverage
Improving Mental Health Care

(3) Increasing the employment rate of workers with disabilities:
Increasing Executive Branch Hiring of Workers with Disabilities
Effectively Implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act
Providing Private-Sector Employers with Resources to Accommodate Employees with Disabilities
Encouraging Private-Sector Employers to Use Existing Tax Benefits to Hire More Workers with Disabilities
Establishing a National Commission on People with Disabilities, Employment, and Social Security
Supporting Small Businesses Owned by People with Disabilities
Assuring Workers with Disabilities and Family Caregivers Get the Flexibility at Work They Need

(4) Supporting independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities:
Assuring the Rights Affirmed in Olmstead v. L.C.
Supporting the Community Choice Act and Direct Care Workers
Supporting the CLASS Act
Streamline the Social Security Approval Process
Protect Voting Rights
Amending the Medicare “Homebound” Rule
Investing in Assistive Technologies
Protecting the Safety of Individuals with Special Needs
Supporting Americans Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Strengthen VA Specialty Care

Congratulations you made it through the entire list and now you can take a breath.  Pretty ambitious don’t you think, but I for one choose to believe, “Change Can Happen!”

Here’s the full plan.

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November 2008


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