Image description: A New York State flag flying next to a United States flag against a blue sky with clouds.
Almost 250 years ago, our country was founded on the promise of independence and the inherent rights and freedoms people enjoy.
Nearly 25 years ago, Consumer Directed Personal Assistance was created as an expansion of those fundamental principles of our country. Everyone, regardless of disability, age, or anything else, has the right to be free in the community and enjoy life on their own terms.
The disability community, like women, people of color, and many others, had to fight to make sure the definitions of independence and freedom apply to us. And that fight continues today. We see that fight playing out at the Federal level with continual proposed cuts to Medicaid, tax cuts for the wealthiest that impact the ability to fund critical services, and more.
What you may not realize is that your freedoms that we have all fought for are under attack at the state level too – including your core constitutional right to live in the community and to free speech.
A new law that went into effect April 1 is making it much harder for fiscal intermediaries, the agencies you work with, to tell those who are not yet using CDPA about its existence. This law restricts them from publishing ads, having a website, posting on Facebook, or even tweeting – without the State’s approval. This law is technically already in effect, although the Department of Health has not issued any guidance, and therefore it cannot yet be enforced. But, it is coming, and the intent – to limit and eventually try to end CDPA – is very real.
In February, we sat in a meeting with the Department of Health and were told that the marketing restrictions were necessary because Medicaid was growing too fast and too many people were choosing CDPA. Their determination was that, if they could keep people in the community from finding out about CDPA, they could limit the growth of Medicaid. This is unacceptable and inconsistent with New York’s values, and I hope you will join me in fighting it.
This attempt to artificially limit the growth of CDPA is not just unethical – it is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
The state has no problem with nursing homes buying billboard ads at Yankee Stadium. Hospitals advertise their services everywhere, including across state lines. And yet, fiscal intermediaries who do not wait for approval of marketing materials will be shut down by the State after two instances.
CDPAANYS has sued the Department of Health arguing that they are violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to limit CDPA growth.
These new advertising rules are a direct attack on CDPA. This attack is coming from New York State, not from the Trump administration or the federal government.
In my seven years with CDPAANYS, I rarely send out fundraising requests, but the legal action we need to take to protect this program comes with a hefty price tag. Your support has never been more necessary!
To that end, I am making a personal appeal for donations to CDPAANYS to help cover the costs of this suit. No matter how large or small, your donation will go far in helping us win this fight against injustice. Please share this information with people who may be interested. Consider a donation of $17.76 to symbolize our continued fight for independence, or, if you can, a bigger donation. Anything, regardless of the amount, helps.
Thank you for your support, and a happy Independence Day to all.