Oct 12, 2010
And then ask your candidate how Oregon will care for the 80,000 seniors and people with disabilities who will need help with long-term care by 2030.
Today is the last day to register to vote in the Oregon fall elections. I hope you registered and I hope you vote when the ballot arrives. Why? You are entitled to real answers to real problems. Your vote is your entitlement.
Politics. For me, the word summons up both fascination and frustration, anticipation and aggravation, hope and hostility. I work in the state legislative process as an advocate. I've seen a lot about how it functions. No, it hasn't made me cynical. It's just people trying to work stuff out. As I like to say, things would work more smoothly without people, but I still like to have them around.
Fact is, people with disabilities rely upon Medicare and Medicaid. They are able to get into buildings and go to school and stay on the job because of civil rights laws. Most lawmakers understand that regardless of party. Some candidates pretend that these factors are just dollars on a spreadsheet, not people's lives. One state representative told me that, to him, the ADA meant that the best parking spots at Walmart are always empty and he can't use them.
So what I'm getting at is that voting matters for people with disabilities. Look at candidates' track records, not their promises. Ignore the TV advertising. It's money being thrown at you to upset you in the way that pollsters say will upset you. And as for money, the true question is not whether too much cash is being spent by the government but who gets to decide how to spend it.
Consider this: In June, 2009, almost 19,000 Oregon seniors, 8,750 Oregonians with physical disabilities and 13,700 people with developmental disabilities received long-term care services paid by Medicaid. Thanks to us aging baby-boomers, the need for long-term care is predicted to double within the next 20 years. As your candidate his or her plan for Oregon to handle this reality. Just saying that we should all "sit down at the table" and discuss it is not a real answer.