Equal Opportunity

The obstacles put in front of those with severe disabilities are abundant and extensive.  This topic of the injustices that face those who have disabilities is no stranger to our class discussions.  Many times when deciding who is disadvantaged when speaking of social cooperations it has been the severely disabled who always seem to land a spot on our list.  This recent article from the New York Times tells of a new piece of legislation that aims to minimize at least one of the obstacles for the severely disabled and chronically ill.

This legislation aims to allow these people to continue to live in their homes and have long term care.  Sounds great, right?  Not to about half of the U.S. Senate, mostly the Republican side.  Their argument addresses another one of the topics those of us in the public health field are no stranger too, sustainability.  The legislation’s opposition argues that such a program will simply be too costly and is not feasible.  Even those heading up the democratic camp in the Obama Administration, agree that such legislation is too costly.  As the article explains, many democrats are calling for a restructuring of the program, rather than a repeal.  These senators argue that no person should be forced to live in an institution.  While it sounds like a great step towards equal opportunity for those with disabilities, can such a program be successful without sustainable funding?

Those who oppose the legislation say no, and that the people seeking such insurance will most likely be those in need of care, and therefore this will cause the program to be unfeasible.  However, I struggle with the idea of whether the social benefits for those with disabilities may just be worth giving such a program a try.  People with severe disabilities have usually been the group that usually falls into the disadvantaged category, and is this a non-arbitrary or arbitrary distinction?  Until now it seems as a society that we have said this is a non-arbitrary distinction and brushed it off.  Perhaps is this new legislation a step in the right direction?  I think the idea is a good one and would be interested at what proposed changes can be made to allow this legislation to be in effect, although if the funding is not found it is likely that those with severe disabilities will once again remain facing another injustice.



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