To the editor,

Nearly three decades ago on July 26, 1990, then President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) into law.  President Bush said, “With today’s signing of the landmark Americans for Disabilities Act, every man, woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom… Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”

Many improvements have occurred since 1990.  Automatic opening doors, installed to help someone using a wheelchair, are handy for a mother with a toddler in a stroller.  Someone who has an injury can obtain a temporary accessible parking tag to park nearer store entrances.  All of us communicate by texting, not just those who have a hearing impairment.  

Today, people with disabilities use a program called “Consumer Directed Personal Assistance” to help maintain their independence.  Yet, the New York State Department of Health wants to make dramatic changes to how this program is funded.  

Those changes threaten the independence of 70,000 New Yorkers who rely on the support provided by their personal assistants.  And, these changes threaten the jobs of nearly 100,000 personal assistants!  For those most impacted by this change, it will be devastating.  

According to the US Census Bureau, about 1 in 5 Americans has a disability.  Aging increases the likelihood of having a disability.  It isn’t a giant leap to recognize that at some point in everyone’s life, the issue of personal disability, or that of a family member, is likely.  I encourage Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Department of Health to find a much better solution.  

Would that those words uttered by President George H. W. Bush could come true…  

Sincerely,

Tania S. Anderson

ARISE CEO

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