Policy regarding people with disabilities has an uncertain future as the Trump administration begins, according to multiple advocacy groups.
For the past eight years, President Barack Obama was quite clear on his policies and stances regarding people with disabilities and the issues they face. Hillary Clinton made it a point during the Democratic National Convention to highlight her policies for people with disabilities and made sure they were a focal point in her campaign. As with most of President-elect Trump’s policies, he has kept his ideas on how to better the lives of people with disabilities to himself. Since he barely mentioned or acknowledged people with disabilities during his campaign, worry and confusion has been prevalent within this community since he was announced as the winner.
One executive, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility, commented on the worries the people with disabilities community now have.
“I don’t want to pretend this is not a crisis because the fact is that President Obama and Hillary Clinton had very strong ties with the disability community and had very clear plans for the disability community,” Mizrahi said. “Mr. Trump will have the opportunity now to engage with lots of people and hopefully this will become an important issue.”
A major issue that Trump will address in the first 100 days of his presidency is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare. Republicans claimed they are going to repeal the ACA, which currently makes sure insurers are not allowed to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions. This could cause a dramatic change in the price and types of insurance available for people with disabilities.
Apprehension is also apparent when it comes to the idea of Medicaid. Trump has proposed to turn that program into a block-grant system, in turn giving a lot more control to the states while limiting the amount of federal dollars toward it.
This campaign had not created a bridge between Trump and most people with disabilities. Early in the primary season, the businessman appeared to mock a reporter with a disability during a speech. This clip was subsequently used in numerous campaign ads.
Trump has been involved with organizations like the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation in New York City, so not all hope is lost. Policies regarding people with disabilities have also historically been bipartisan, with Republicans and Democrats working together to ensure that citizens of the United States that live with a disability have the same opportunities and benefits as anyone else. Time will tell how Trump will address these issues, and whether advocates’ fears are justified.