December 31, 2019, marks the end of a decade and here come a new decade. The last decade has without a doubt been a great decade for people with disabilities and we can only hope for more improvement for people with disabilities in the new decade.
In the last decade, there have been few positive and more negative trends — does it mean we may be heading in the wrong direction on disability issues and culture? In fact, one can only pray and advocate against today’s worrying trends so that it does not turn into a frightening reality in the new decade. We need to advocate for better access, equality, and inclusion. This is what the disability community has been working on for decades and it must receive more attention now.
In the new decade, the disability community must remain united in their vision for a more accessible and inclusive world, it must do away from any form of division. The disability community must not be divided by race, gender, and sexual orientation, between “haves” and “have-nots,” among conflicting political identities, and between groups of people with different kinds of disabilities. It is important to reinforce the value of unity in the new decade.
In the last decade, innovation and technology were concentrated on people with disabilities. Innovations, medical and technological advances are good, it has helped create and increase accessibility and mobility in the disability community in the last decade but it could also make disability seem like something people can choose to fix, and should and this can further encourage those who bully, stigmatize and act biased toward people with more persistent, ongoing disabilities.
In this new decade, people with disabilities will enjoy more independence. A large portion of the story of people with disabilities in the last decade has been the effort, on several fronts, to move disability “care” and services away from nursing homes and institutions, the segregation and day to day control of people with disabilities lives that contributed to outrages like Willowbrook, which helped launch the movement against institutions in the first place.
In this new decade, there is guaranteed health insurance for everyone, there will no longer be any such thing as “eligibility” for complete health care, and long term services and supports for people with disabilities. It will be automatic for everyone. It doesn't matter if it is “Medicare For All” or some other hybrid model, the key is not just affordability, but stability. The plan by the government to take health insurance “off the table,” and fully cover home care for all who need it, would liberate people with disabilities even more than the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
In this new decade, people with disabilities will be able to work, earn money, and save much more than they can now without fear of losing support benefits. There are many factors that influence whether or not any particular person with a disability is working for pay. We hope the political terrain and policies will strongly continue to support people with disabilities.
In this new decade, physical and communication barriers in workplaces, businesses, and transportation will be drastically reduced with the aid of the many assistive devices, and mobility products out there.