People with disability and their family members are deeply afraid of what a Donald Trump presidency has in store for them ― and they are already gearing up to resist harmful policy changes.First and foremost, advocates worry that Trump’s professed desire to weaken the country’s safety net could jeopardize the lives of vulnerable Americans. They’re also concerned that federal agencies’ roles in policing discrimination and driving reforms of law enforcement practices will change.
Although it is impossible to know how Trump will govern, his campaign platform, the Republican Party’s priorities and his bullying personality ― embodied by his campaign-trail mockery of a reporter with the joint condition arthrogryposis ― are not reassuring, according to disability rights activists.“It’s a disaster,” said Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, which is run entirely by people on the autism spectrum. “Obviously, with somebody like Trump, you never really know what he is going to do, but assuming we can take him at his word on his stated policy positions, there is tremendous, tremendous risk for people with disabilities.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to The Huffington Post’s request for comment on disability rights advocates’ concerns. Below are some of the things they’re worried about.Trump has repeatedly promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” Thanks to Republican control of both houses of Congress, he will get a chance to do just that.
Republicans would have to overcome Senate Democrats’ power to filibuster, however, which they may be able to do through budget reconciliation.Eliminating the signature reform could negatively affect people with disabilities in at least two major ways. It would presumably undo regulations that preclude insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions ― a description that fits many people with a physical, psychological or developmental disabilities.
Republicans might scramble to retain that provision of Obamacare due to its popularity, but its financial viability would be severely limited without other clauses, like the individual mandate that balances out high coverage costs for sicker people with the lower costs for new, healthier insurance customers.“If you could do the popular parts without the unpopular parts, people would already have done it,” said Harold Pollack, a professor at the University of Chicago who specializes in disability and health care policies. As a result, Pollack estimated, whatever protections manage to survive Trump would likely be as porous and inadequate as what existed before Obamacare.