Updated: Sept. 20, 2011, 5:01PM
About 175 mostly wheelchair-bound protesters took to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to protest cuts to Medicaid in deficit reduction proposals.
The protest, organized by the disability group ADAPT, started in the Hart Senate Office Building and proceeded down Constitution Ave. to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The GOP proposal would reduce federal spending on Medicaid by $1.4 trillion from 2012 to 2021. Obama’s plan would reduce federal Medicaid spending $66 billion.
Advocates picked the Hart building because that’s where Sens. Jon Kyl and Pat Toomey, members of the Super Committee charged with bringing down the deficit, are based.
“We want them to reduce the cuts that they’re making on Medicaid, because we have a lot of folks in our group and a lot of folks all across the country who depend on Medicaid for services and support so they can live in the community,” David Wittie, who was leading the procession down Constitution Ave., told TPM.
“The language we’ve been hearing is that they’re going to take a lot of that money from Medicaid and other services,” Wittie said. “That’s wrong because we know that people depend on that, we know that peoples’ lives are in danger if their services are in danger. People can die because of these cuts.”
Ian Engle came from Colorado to protest cuts to home and community-based services. “It will make it so that folks like us can live in the community, maintain jobs, contribute to the community, pay taxes. It’s not only morally irresponsible to house people in congregate facilities, it’s fiscally irresponsible because it just costs more,” Engle said.