Public Health Education and Disability Inclusion

Public Health Girl

Update and Trump’s ADA

I wish I had the time lately to post more here, but between a 80 mile round trip commute, 12+ hours of classes, a internship, and life in general.. it’s hard! But this is the last push and I hope to be graduating in May. In the meantime, let’s talk politics. Specifically things like the Affordable Care Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and our current president.

It’s no lie that politics are confusing, nor is it dishonest to say we all have different opinions on the matter. The fact of the matter is politics plays a part who gets what and how they get it on the most basic of levels. Yes, I know there are other factors going on, but we’re going to keep it simple.

Recently there has been outcry with President Trump’s rollbacks, ranging from net neutrality to EPA regulations. I know a lot of us are wondering just how this begins to affect or even what effect it will have on our lives. For some people it might not be a very big impact, but for individuals in a population covered by the vital rights that the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990 protects, it’s a pretty big impact. (Aljazeera, 2018)

If you don’t already know what the Americans with Disabilities Act is, then allow me to give you a brief summary. The ADA or Americans with Disabilities act is a civil rights law that prohibits any discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. (ADA National Network) This can mean that individuals with disabilities will have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else gets. This doesn’t necessarily mean less rights for those not covered under the ADA, it just means that persons with disabilities have a chance at some of the same opportunities as the rest of everyone else.

So let’s now let’s think about this using a phrase that’s been going around in regards to many issues that LGBTQ+ face, “Equal rights doesn’t mean less rights for you. It’s not pie.” More rights for someone else who might be marginalized, doesn’t mean you have less rights. It means that they get the same right as you to be treated as a valued individual; and none of us like being thought of as a number, condition, or something that isn’t even remotely a human being.

Equal Rights Pie
Image from Speakupshop on Redbubble.

For those who the ADA does cover, this essential piece of law can mean the difference between being able to work, go to school, or even get proper medical care. As a public health student, I know that there is a lot at risk here for a vulnerable population. Just last year the administration stopped action on changes that would allow for accommodation under the Affordable Care Act.

I don’t always agree with either side of the aisle when it comes to politics, but I have friends and loved ones that this is going to affect. These are people that have health issues that the ADA covers, and for them to not be able to receive the proper care frightens me like nothing else. Let’s use this example, you know you’re sick but you can’t get the help you need to get better because you can’t access it.

It’s essentially saying, “Here’s the help, now do it our way.” When you think about it for  many patients, this really can mean the difference between treatment or no treatment. Sometimes these treatments make their quality of life millions of times better, sometimes they make it possible for these people to hold a job, travel, make friends. Things that most able-bodied people take for granted. Some people with physical disabilities say that a doctor’s visit is a joke. They don’t check how much they weigh, or height. Both things that many nurses and doctors should know will impact how well a medication is tolerated. (Bluth, 2018)

The World Health Organization defines access to medical care as a fundamental human right, “No one should get sick and die just because they are poor, or because they cannot access the health services they need.” (WHO, 2017)

If you ask me, and for whatever my thoughts are worth… we’re beginning to setting a precedent for treating people with disabilities as less than human.


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