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80 Arrested In Nation’s Capital At Disability Rights Protest

Above Photo: Screenshot/ Time

Dozens of disability rights activists — including some in wheelchairs — were arrested near Capitol Hill while pressing for more access to community-based services.

U.S. Capitol Police arrested 80 people who were demonstrating Monday morning outside the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The protesters were with the disability rights group ADAPT. They were seeking a meeting with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to ask that he support adequate funding for Medicaid, discontinue efforts to block grant the program and back a series of other changes to make services for people with disabilities more available in the community.

“We need to address our current inability to effectively transition people out of nursing facilities and support them in the community,” said Rhoda Gibson, an organizer with an ADAPT chapter in Massachusetts. “Creating models for more effective transition would involve multiple changes in how these services are authorized and provided.”

All of those arrested were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding, according to Eva Malecki with the U.S. Capitol Police. They were all released and can either pay a fine or request a court date for the misdemeanor charge, Malecki said.

Separately on Monday, ADAPT activists also occupied the offices of 19 members of the House of Representatives. The group sought to drum up support for the Disability Integration Act, a bill that would ensure that people with disabilities who are eligible for institutional care would also have the right to access those same services in their own homes if they prefer.

As a result of the action, some lawmakers did indicate that they would sign on as co-sponsors of the legislation, ADAPT said.

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