These statements positively move these disability organizations further away from the maintenance of two systems – one of segregation and exclusion, the other of inclusion and self determination – and toward a system based on community and inclusion. There is a united call to close institutions, once and for all. Self advocates call for the closure of segregated programs. The response from leaders suggests choices for inclusion and contribution in the community should be supported. All agree that poverty is a major barrier to participation. All agree that public funds should be under the control of those receiving the support.
Efforts to forge a common vision based on a meaningful life in the community also suggest the power of working together within the disability community and within the broader community. The competition for scarce resources within the disability community is a source of conflict and division. The competition for scarce resources between the disability community and other vulnerable groups is a source of conflict and division. The issues identified in the Summit 2005 statement, among many others, can provide the basis for common cause with others – poverty, lack of adequate housing, the need for sustained personal support, and so on.
At this time, looking at the national public policy perspective, there is not any question that the most important issue facing us is the future of Medicaid. It is time to reform Medicaid, especially if we do it with the vision and the perspective on how to make this multi-billion dollar program work better for people with disabilities, and work for more people with disabilities because there are so many people who are Medicaid eligible that are on waiting lists now for literally life saving type services. It is almost impossible picturing ourselves wanting to maintain the status quo.
Paul Marchand, Disability Policy Collaboration