Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Clinton

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Clinton

Article excerpt

Over the course of this campaign, I have often said that America doesn't have a person to waste. I firmly believe that the only way we can get our country going in the right direction again is by involving every American in the revitalization of our country. As a nation, we are not doing enough to tap into the talents of Americans with disabilities. My administration's disability policies will be based on three simple creeds: inclusion, not exclusion; independence, not dependence; and empowerment, not paternalism.

If I am elected president, I will work with the disability community and Congress to ensure that persons with disabilities are fully integrated into American society. This theme of empowerment, inclusion and independence means providing education and job training so Americans with disabilities can actively contribute to our country's productivity. It means providing quality, affordable, comprehensive health care that accommodates the special health needs of Americans with disabilities. It also means more and better housing and more opportunities for people with disabilities to live independently in their own homes, in their own communities.

The swift and sure enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is crucial to the goals of independence and an end to discrimination in the workplace. The ADA is not about handouts or affirmative action, and it is not a giveaway -- it equalizes opportunity and guarantees the civil rights of American citizens with disabilities. My administration will make the implementation and enforcement of this ground-breaking legislation a top priority.

In the last four years, America has witnessed its slowest growth rate since World War H, and millions of Americans are out of work. Perhaps nowhere is this job shortage felt more than among people with disabilities. Empowering Americans means giving them the tools they need to compete in an increasingly competitive economy; while the provision of reasonable accommodations to reduce barriers to the work place are essential, adequate training is particularly important for people with disabilities. My administration will increase the amount of special education and job training for Americans with disabilities as part of national adult education, job training and apprenticeship programs.

Today, over 34 million Americans have no health coverage, and many more are underinsured. The poor management of health care costs and the inadequate distribution of services disproportionately affects Americans with disabilities. I will provide Americans with affordable, quality and comprehensive health care by taking on the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical manufacturers. In a Clinton administration, insurance companies will not be allowed to deny an individual coverage because of a "preexisting" condition. In addition to providing every American with a core benefits package, the Clinton plan will expand Medicare for disabled Americans to include more long-term care and emphasize home and community-based care that allows the individual to decide what kind of care best serves his or her needs.

Empowerment means putting people first by investing in lifetime learning -- a concerted effort to invest in the collective talents of our people. Education is more than merely the key to climbing the ladder of opportunity. …

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