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Disability Rights Resolutions for the March 16 Democratic Caucuses

If you live in Colorado and you are registered as a Democrat, I hope you’ll help support disability rights becoming part of the Party platform. You can do this by introducing disability rights resolutions at your neighborhood caucus tomorrow night, March 16. I have drafted two resolutions — one about health care reform and community choice, the other about ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The text of both of these resolutions is pasted below. Click on these two links to download printable, PDF copies of both —

A RESOLUTION TO INTEGRATE COMMUNITY CHOICE INTO HEALTH CARE REFORM (PDF)

A RESOLUTION TO URGE THE UNITED STATES SENATE TO RATIFY THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (PDF)

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A RESOLUTION TO INTEGRATE COMMUNITY CHOICE INTO HEALTH CARE REFORM

WHEREAS Americans with disabilities and chronic health conditions rely heavily on public health programs, primarily Medicaid and Medicare, not only for primary health care but also for long-term care needs; and

WHEREAS Medicaid and Medicare contain a strong institutional bias, with funding policies favoring placement in nursing homes and other facilities, thus draining resources away from home and community based care; and

WHEREAS every state participating in the federal Medicaid program is required to provide nursing home services, but home and community based services are optional, and are thereby unavailable in many states; and

WHEREAS sixty-seven percent of Medicaid long-term care dollars pay for institutional services, while the remaining thirty-three percent must pay for all community based services; and

WHEREAS the vast majority of people disabled by age, injury, or illness would prefer to receive services in their own homes rather than in institutions, yet many are forced by current policies to enter facilities in order to get the assistance they need; and

WHEREAS the institutional bias not only deprives people of choice, home, and independence, but also costs taxpayers far more than would a comprehensive nationwide system of home and community based services; and

WHEREAS as the population ages and more people require long-term care, the current institutionally-biased health care system will become more expensive and unsustainable; and

WHEREAS the Community Choice Act (CCA), introduced in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, would allow individuals to choose home and community based services as an alternative to placement in a nursing facility; and

WHEREAS the CCA would provide states with financial assistance and incentives to reform their long-term care service systems to provide services in the most integrated setting;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that

THE COLORADO DEMOCRATIC PARTY supports the concept of community choice in long-term care programs; and that

THE COLORADO DEMOCRATIC PARTY pledges to ensure that health care reform legislation and policy proposals emphasize choice and independence rather than institutionalization.

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A RESOLUTION TO URGE THE UNITED STATES SENATE TO RATIFY THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

WHEREAS at least ten percent of the world’s population, more than 650 million people, have physical or mental disabilities; and

WHEREAS throughout the world, many people with disabilities are denied their human rights and kept on the margins of society; and

WHEREAS the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“the Convention”) on December 13, 2006; and

WHEREAS the Convention establishes the legal obligations of governments to recognize and respect the rights of persons with disabilities; and

WHEREAS the purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity; and

WHEREAS the Convention sets forth general principles including individual autonomy, independence, nondiscrimination, full participation and inclusion in society, respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity, equality of opportunity, accessibility, equality between women and men, and respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities; and

WHEREAS the Convention is crucial for the social and economic development of societies worldwide, including in developing countries where eighty percent of people with disabilities live;

WHEREAS eighty-two nations have already ratified the Convention; and

WHEREAS at President Obama’s direction Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, signed the Convention on July 30, 2009; and

WHEREAS adoption of the Convention by the United States requires ratification by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that

THE COLORADO DEMOCRATIC PARTY calls on all Democratic senators to actively support ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and that

THE COLORADO DEMOCRATIC PARTY urges the U.S. Senate to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as soon as possible.

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