Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Candidates on Disability - Part III

The Bottom of the ticket.

The top of the ticket is what really matters, but just in case and all that. So let's take a quick look at Biden and Palin and where they stand on disability rights.

First, Senator Joe Biden. The first thing I noticed about Biden and disabilities is that he uses people-first language, which is rare enough that it jumps out at me and I really appreciate it. He also supports stem cell research.

Biden co-sponsored an amendment to the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (Amendment No. 2067) that added - among other designations - "disability" to the list of protected groups.

On his senate web site, Biden doesn't list "disability" as a separate issues tab, but there's stuff there if you look for it. According to his legislative record and his own web site, under the Civil Rights tab, this is what Biden has to say about his support for disability-related issues:

Helping Americans With Disabilities: Senator Biden always has been a strong supporter of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He has long championed efforts to allow Medicaid to provide home- and community-based support services needed by disabled individuals to remain out of institutions. He also fought to allow low-income families with disabled children to buy into the Medicaid program.

Protecting Against Genetic Discrimination: Senator Biden has fought to prohibit employers and insurance companies from collecting or using genetic information when making decisions about hiring, providing health coverage, or discriminating in the pricing of an insurance policy.

Preserving the Privacy of Medical Records: Senator Biden knows how important it is to patients that their personal medical information be kept private. He supports: making sure individuals’ medical information is not used against them or unknowingly sold for commercial profit, and ensuring that as we move toward more efficient, cost-saving electronic medical records, privacy interests remain a priority.

If you look at the legislation Biden has sponsored, a lot of it is related to foreign policy. For demestic policy, he's a big supporter of women's rights and other civil rights. Conclusion: Biden is a strong supporter of disability rights, but he's not an activist. He votes the way I'd like him to on those issues, but it's not quite as high a priority for Biden as it is for Obama. Still, a good, solid record.

Stay tuned, we all know what's coming.

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