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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

I’m watching the healthcare debate on T.V., with President Obama taking a very CEO-roundtable-like style to try to bring together a roomful of lawmakers to agree on a comprehensive $950 billion healthcare bill. Obama sits at the head of a square conference table, flanked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Lamar Alexander, John McCain and other Republican senators sit to Obama’s left. “We want a discussion, not talking points,” Obama says. The GOP discussion is namely centered on reducing costs through program spending cuts and holding more doctors and hospitals accountable. The Democrats talk about expanding the system to cover all Americans, including low-income families and people with disabilities. Also in the room is Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who leads the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee and is an ardent supporter of people with disabilities. Harkin, a Democrat, is working to pass the Community Choice Act, which ... keep reading »
Speaking before a crowd on Capitol Hill, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said expanding federal benefits for people with disabilities is “a civil rights issue.” The senator, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, is also the sponsor of the Community Choice Act, one of two proposals introduced this year that that would significantly expand federal assistance for people in need of long-term care. Harkin and other advocates of the measures are folding their efforts into President Obama’s push for health-care reform. At issue is the government-funded Medicaid program, which serve the disabled and elderly. The Community Choice Act would reform Medicaid to give recipients eligible for institutional-level care the choice of receiving in-home or community-based assistance rather than nursing home care. Currently, individuals seeking in-home care must apply through a waiver program — but there’s a long waiting line. HELP Chairman Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) has sponsored a ... keep reading »
A World Health Organization study published today says uncorrected vision impairments throughout the world are having an significant effect on the global economy. The WHO estimates that uncorrected reflective error, or URE — the biggest cause of avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the world — is costing $269 billion each year in lost productivity. The authors from Johns Hopkins University, the International Center for Eyecare Education, the University of New South Wales and the African Vision Research Institute University of KwaZulu-Natal, say the problem could be eliminated simply, and very cost-effectively, by an eye examination and a pair of eyeglasses. Today, 90 percent of blindness and vision impairment is in the developing world. The study says vision loss is highest in the Western Asia-Pacific region, which includes China and Vietnam. With 62 million URE cases, this region is responsible for almost half the potential loss of productivity. Bangladesh, India ... keep reading »
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is managing a new video-enabled Web site that is designed to be accessible to people with disabilities. The site, HealthReform.gov, features video messages from President Barack Obama and others on the healthcare reforms being proposed by the Obama administration. The video are streamed with a FeedRoom Access online video player, a new service by The Feedroom, a provider of online video and live streaming video. With the addition of FeedRoom Access, the site is fully compliant with Section 508, which requires federal agencies to make their electronic communications and information technology accessible to Americans with disabilities. For example, audio files have captions or transcripts for those with hearing disabilities. The site is compatible with screen readers, which are used by some people with vision impairments. Additionally the site supports alternative input devices and speech recognition technology. HealthReform.gov is serving as a model to other federal ... keep reading »

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