Open for Questions: Kareem Dale on Disability and Health Care


Uploaded by whitehouse on 02.04.2009

Transcript:
MR. KAREEM DALE: Hi, Becky. How are you?
My name is Kareem Dale, and I'm special assistant to the
President for disability policy here at the White House.
First, let me thank you for asking such a great question.
We noticed your question, so we wanted to make sure
to get you an answer.
So I'm here to provide that answer for you.
As I said, I'm special assistant to the President
for disability policy.
And therefore, I work on policy angles -- or policy issues for
people with disabilities within the Domestic Policy Council, I
also work on outreach to the disability community in the
Office of Public Liaison.
Like you, I am a person with a disability.
I am blind.
At numerous times throughout my life, I've been on SSI and SSDI,
so I certainly understand the issues that you face and that
millions of Americans with disabilities face across the
country regarding being able to go back to work, but then losing
your health care.
Like me, President Obama certainly also
understands this issue.
That is why President Obama has embarked on bringing about
health care reform for the country.
During these difficult economic times, we need everybody to
contribute to the economy.
And it's certainly difficult to do that when you can't go back
to work and be assured of getting health care.
Under President Obama's health care reform plan, one can go
back to work and be assured of still getting health care due to
the fact that President Obama is proposing universal health care
for all people, including people with disabilities.
And that is why President Obama has begun to hold
forums across the country.
He began with the health care forum here at the White House
which people with disabilities were involved with.
We had multiple people representing different
disability organizations here at the White House to ensure that
people with disabilities in their viewpoint were included in
the health care discussion.
In addition to the White House health care reform forum here at
the White House, we also have hosted health care forums
throughout various regions of the country.
What we hope to accomplish is to bring everybody together across
the country to understand that health care reform is critical,
because once we sign and implement health care reform,
people with disabilities will be able to be employed and go back
to work and contribute to the economy without fear of losing
their health care.
So you will be able to go and get a job and still be covered
under President Obama's health care reform plan.
To answer your second question regarding the
Community Choice Act.
During the campaign and the transition, President Obama was
a full supporter of the Community Choice Act.
Right now on the White House website, President Obama remains
committed to independent living for people with disabilities to
ensure that people with disabilities don't have to live
and be warehoused in institutions.
There's legislation pending right now in the Congress, and
that process is playing out.
But be assured that President Obama is a supporter of
independent living for people with disabilities.
Thank you very much.