Disabled group members arrested at McCain's office
By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer Tue Apr 29,
6:38 PM ET
WASHINGTON - At least 20 disabled activists, most of
them in wheelchairs, were arrested outside Sen. John
McCain's offices Tuesday after being refused a meeting
with the GOP presidential nominee-to-be over a bill to
expand Medicaid coverage to more people who want
"If he should be president, it would be ironic that he
comes from a party that talks a lot about family
values," said Bob Kafka, national organizer for ADAPT,
a group advocating for passage of the bill. Without
the legislation, many disabled and elderly people
don't have the choice to apply coverage to anything
other than institutional care, he said.
"Families are devastated because they don't have a
choice to keep people at home," Kafka said.
McCain was not in his office during the protest. He
was campaigning Tuesday in Florida on his health care
The bill, stuck in committee since last year, would
amend the Social Security Act to allow people who are
eligible for Medicaid coverage of nursing home costs
to spend it instead on home-based, or community care.
Sponsored by Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Arlen
Specter, R-Pa., it also would grant extra money to
states that participate in the program, according to a
summary of the bill.
Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack
Obama of Illinois, rivals for the Democratic
presidential nomination, are co-sponsors of the bill,
but McCain is not.
Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said about 20
people from the group were arrested outside McCain's
office in the Russell Senate Office Building on
Tuesday and charged with unlawful assembly.
McCain's Senate chief of staff said the protesters
turned down an offer to meet immediately with McCain's
aides. Mark Busey said he didn't know McCain's
position on the legislation but would ask. The chances
are slim, however, that the senator himself would be
meeting with members of the group.
"We are more than happy to let them know when he will
be back in the Washington area at public events, town
halls and the like," Busey said in a telephone
interview. "Right now we do not know when he's going
to be here for a meeting."
The bill is S. 799.
On the Net:
Bill text: http://thomas.loc.gov