Missouri Advocates Call Governor A Hypocrite
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 20, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI--On Wednesday, Governor Matt Blunt spoke to the Governor's Council on Disabilities, praising the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the News Tribune, Blunt said the anti-discrimination law has improved the lives of Missourians with disabilities and will help them to be seen "as equals in every regard, with unique and valuable contributions to make."
At least a dozen disability rights advocates in the audience were not impressed.
In fact, the members of Show-Me ADAPT in attendance distributed a flyer accusing Blunt of "the height of hypocrisy" because of cuts he has made to programs for people with disabilities, including the state's Centers for Independent Living and the state's Medicaid program -- amounting to eliminating coverage to an estimated 90,000 Missourians over the next year.
"I personally have lost my job because of it," Bob Pund of Columbia, told the News Tribune. "The Independent Living Center that I worked for had to lay off five people."
After giving his speech, Blunt slipped out a door opposite where the Show-Me ADAPT members waited.
"To truly understand what is going on, I think he needs to talk with the people who are affected by the cuts," Pund commented. "Without really giving 100 percent of your ear to people with disabilities, you're not going to truly reform Medicaid the way it needs to be -- to have a cheaper or more effective program that really helps people."
In May, about 100 disability rights protesters held a fake funeral outside Missouri's Capitol declaring the state's Medicaid system dead after the Legislature approved Blunt's budget cuts.
The funeral procession included someone dressed as the Grim Reaper and pallbearers carrying homemade coffins with the words "Blunts Budget Cuts Will Kill People" painted on them.
Medicaid is the joint state-federal program that provides medical and other services for low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities.
"Blunt cites ADA successes; some disabled disagree" (News Tribune)
"Forum canceled; protesters of health-care cut show up" June 29, 2005 (Southeast Missourian)