Sometimes It’s Just Simple

Why is The Arc so strongly behind S. 1169, a bill that would allow dental therapists to operate quasi-independently in our Commonwealth? The reasons are simple:
  • Because of the lack of dentists who serve adults with disabilities (intellectual, developmental, autism, etc.); we hear stories about long delays in dental care which result in emergency room visits and extractions.
  • Because even fewer dentists are available for those on MassHealth – imagine the impact not only on our constituents but on all families who rely on MassHealth dental coverage for their children and themselves.
  • Because prevention and ongoing monitoring are neglected.
  • Because it’s so bad that the state has a contract with Tufts Dental Clinic (thank you, Tufts!) to address the needs of thousands of our constituents. We may always need that additional support, but it will never be adequate to meet the needs of all our constituents, who should have local options regardless.

Maura Sullivan testifying. Continue reading

Uncertainty

On Monday, Governor Charlie Baker vetoed an additional $320 million from the legislature’s state budget, including a cut of more than $7 million from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) budget. The impact of the reductions mean uncertainty for many people and this will be heightened by the continued uncertainty caused by Capitol Hill policy makers. Although we believe that the legislature will override the Governor’s vetoes, we don’t know for certain. This week US Senate Majority Leader McConnell said, “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.” He added that he will keep trying. Those attempts may affect both the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Again, an uncertain future is leaving states, service providers, and recipients in confusion. In a 2016 Forbes opinion piece, Neil Howe wrote, “When we leave our comfort zone, everything changes. We no longer know how the world works. We become anxious and fearful… Minutes turn into hours.” In confusion, Howe says people act. We know many people with disabilities will be wondering about their future. They will be looking for certainty. But it’s not about just this year. Are we facing a decade-long fight over Medicaid and health care? What will that mean for the services that our constituents require?  Multiply the clouds caused by today’s uncertainty hundred-fold! When we face uncertainty, we often avoid planning for the future. When we act quickly, disappointing outcomes follow. Let’s not bend to uncertainty. Let’s act where we know we can make a difference.  Join us in building a more certain future!

The Running Game in Advocacy

In football, the running game may be slow but it’s nearly always the key ingredient to any winning strategy. In talking about Running Back LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said he liked the fact that Blount has the “ability to make the yards that we need at the time we need them.” Continue reading

Hidden Figures

As I watched the movie Hidden Figures, I was once again struck by the depth of discrimination facing African-Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. So what does this movie have to do with disability? The most obvious connection is the experience of segregation and disenfranchisement. Continue reading

A Note From Our Executive Director: Turning 22

Governor Baker’s inaugural speech in January 2015 touched on schools, opioid addiction, and giving hope to people struggling in economically-challenged communities. His speech quoted JFK with a call for government “to be as efficient, responsive and innovative as it can be.” This is something The Arc has embraced in calling for continual evolution of services and responsiveness to families. Continue reading