Complex Rehab Technology 25 Years After The Americans With Disabilities Act HD

We need to provide
access for all people with disabilities who need
complex, rehab technology in order to fulfill
the promise of the ADA. So I’d like to encourage
members of Congress to pass legislation and
support policies that help America achieve that goal. I now lift my pen to sign this
Americans with Disability Act and say, let the shameful
wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down. God bless you all. [APPLAUSE] Well, I’ve been really
blessed my entire life to be able to get the
equipment that I need. I’ve never gone
without any equipment. The past two wheelchairs
that I’ve had, at both times, they denied it first. And we wrote an appeal letter. And a lot of people haven’t
been so lucky to have that. And it’s really important that
everyone has the features that they need because they
cannot function without it. It’s really important to
have a custom-fit wheelchair so that you don’t
get pressure sores. That you can
function in society. If I didn’t have my wheelchair,
I would be stuck in bed. I wouldn’t be able to go to
school and take notes in class. I wouldn’t have graduated
with my bachelor’s in Rehab Services. I would be living at home,
not being a productive member of society, not paying taxes. My spinal muscular
atrophy isn’t just going to disappear tomorrow. I’m always going to need a
very complex, power wheelchair. My entire complex wheelchair
is important to me. For example, my lateral
supports, they help me sit up straight and breathe. The standing feature
keeps me healthy. I get to weight bear. And it helps with digestion. The tilt feature allows
me to shift my weight. I can’t reposition
myself during the day, so the tilting allows me
to avoid pressure sores. If I don’t sit right,
I can’t do anything. I can’t even breathe. A wheelchair is not
just a wheelchair. My chair has saved me from
needing more surgeries to correct bone deformities. It’s saved me from
developing pressures sores. They just think, well, a
wheelchair’s just a wheelchair. Well, no it’s not. Medicare– they
keep passing rules and cutting reimbursement. If they keep going
this direction, I know that I won’t
be able to get it. Which means that I
won’t be able to work. I won’t be able to
participate in my community. I won’t be able to do
anything that the ADA was passed so that I could do. There’s still so
much that needs to be done as far as
complex wheelchairs, and I’m afraid that
if Medicare keeps cutting and cutting and
cutting, that I’m not going to get what I need. Complex rehab
technology makes my life not only better, but possible. Without m I can’t do my life. I can’t do any of it. Medicare was a program that
was supposed to help people. I can’t afford to get sick. Medicaid doesn’t want to pay
for me going into the hospital. Insurance doesn’t want to pay
for me going in the hospital. It would be so much easier
for them to just pay for the right wheelchair. It’s really frustrating
to me that the payers want to cut reimbursement. Medicare has to understand that
the people who use wheelchairs need to get out
into the community for a variety of reasons. The ADA was designed
to create access. So why Medicare denying
access every day? Sit in a chair all day. Just sit there. Now, if you have a chair that’s
a little too high, a little too low, a little too hard, or
a little too soft, or maybe one seat’s a little
higher than the other, after about two
hours of that, you’re going to be really
uncomfortable. So think about a person
who uses a wheelchair that has to sit in that
wheelchair all day. And today’s
legislation brings us closer to that day when no
Americans will ever again be deprived of their basic
guarantee of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s given people
with disabilities the ability to be
fully integrated in our economic and social
and cultural life of America. If we don’t have the equipment
to make us functional and allow us to use what we
have, and support us medically, employment is not
going to happen. Independence is not
going to happen. Participating in the community? Not going to happen. The last real big
hurdle that we have is economic self
sufficiency– employment of people with disability. They need to make sure
that CMS doesn’t cut access to valuable technology
and supports and pieces of equipment. My wheelchair is not the same. And I need them to put it
in a category that says, it’s not the same. There shouldn’t be any barriers
to what they want to do and how they want to
be integrated fully in our society. And today, America welcomes
into the mainstream of life all of our fellow
citizens with disabilities. We embrace you
for your abilities and for your disabilities,
for our similarities, and indeed for our differences,
for your past courage, and your future dreams. When I was 11 when
the ADA passed, it meant that I could
have the life I wanted, except they forgot to tell me
I could only have that life if I get my equipment.

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