SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) - Transportation and health care costs are top concerns for disabled Wisconsin residents as the November election approaches, according to advocates for the disabled.
John Nousaine, 64, had his leg amputated after a construction accident about 40 years ago, Wisconsin Public Radio reported . He works for North Country Independent Living in Superior, which seeks to empower people with disabilities.
Nousaine said the organization serves many people who are concerned about transportation. He said public transit options for those with disabilities are OK in Superior, but are lacking in other parts of Douglas County.
“Transportation in northwestern Wisconsin is really a tough nut to crack,” Nousaine said, noting that all residents, not just those who are disabled, can benefit from a robust public transportation system.
Steve Carlson, who also works for North Country Independent Living, said health care is an important issue for him this election season. Carlson said he would like to see Medicaid services expanded in the state.
“That’s been a big stumbling block here in Wisconsin,” Carlson said. “It has not only affected people with disabilities in terms of an inability to expand a program crucial to keeping folks with disabilities independent in their communities, but the lack of the expansion has contributed to higher premiums for people buying policies on the open exchange.”
Nousaine said that despite the improvements that are still needed, the Americans with Disabilities Act has helped raise awareness of disabilities issues since it passed in 1990.
“It was a wakeup call to Americans, in my opinion, that we have to consider the concerns of people with disabilities,” Nousaine said. “Before that, it was really tough to get anybody to really care, and I’m the same way. It’s human nature. I was not affected by any disability stuff until it happened to me.”
Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org
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