The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Bit of Good News in Pennsylvania

(Pixabay)

A bit of good news out of Pennsylvania, where I testified last Tuesday to oppose Democratic governor Tom Wolf’s decision to close Polk and White Haven State Centers, two of the four remaining large state facilities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Pennsylvania. The last time the state tried to close a facility to sate the deinstitutionalization agenda of the nonprofit community was last year, when the state closed the beautiful Hamburg State Center. Since that closure, 15 of the 80 former Hamburg residents have died.

For background, the Department of Health and Human Services in Pennsylvania announced the closures of Polk and White Haven without first notifying families at the centers of their intent to do so. In its statement, the department alluded to the “national trends” away from residential institutions as a reason to close the facilities. While the department is overstating the national trends — most states still have at least one of these facilities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities — I’m immediately struck by the “If your friends jumped off a bridge . . .” rejoinder. Which is to say: The fact that other states have closed facilities — many to ill effect — is no reason Pennsylvania should close two of its centers for the most vulnerable.

More troubling still was this bit in the statement, which insists that moving residents into the “community” — the loaded term used to refer to private, dispersed group homes — is done, in the department’s telling, to “honor the inherent value of every person.”

Which raises the question: Do the families of residents served in state-operated facilities not “honor the inherent value” of their loved one with a disability?

Those who have not moved out, and who have chosen to remain at these “institutions,” are often the most grievously affected members of the disability community.

Thankfully, after the hearing on Tuesday, a proposed moratorium on the closures is circulating in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, which, if enacted, would halt the administration’s abrupt and unjust decision to oppose the wishes of families and residents alike in service of its ideological prerogatives.

This is good. Indeed, the Pennsylvania House and Senate should go further and reopen admissions to the four remaining facilities for the legions on the waiting list who could potentially benefit from their services. If they don’t want or need that level of care, they don’t have to receive services there. The closure of state facilities — ones that act as a natural safety net for individuals whose profound needs lead them to fall through the cracks of private provider networks — has been a boon to many who could benefit from less-intensive-care environments, but a bane to many who have tried the community and found it wanting. Some rebalancing, I think, is in order.

Most Popular

U.S.

Systemic Racism? Make Them Prove It.

I  worked in the criminal-justice system for a quarter century. It is run, day-to-day, by the crème de la crème of graduates from America’s top law schools. Those institutions wear their progressive bona fides on their sleeves and proclaim it for all the world to hear. In their offhand rhetoric — ... Read More
U.S.

Systemic Racism? Make Them Prove It.

I  worked in the criminal-justice system for a quarter century. It is run, day-to-day, by the crème de la crème of graduates from America’s top law schools. Those institutions wear their progressive bona fides on their sleeves and proclaim it for all the world to hear. In their offhand rhetoric — ... Read More

Andrew Cuomo’s Horrific Decisions

Observers of New York politics over the past several years understand that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fanatical obsession with humiliating and overruling his fellow Democrat Bill de Blasio towers over every other consideration in the Empire State. Sometimes Cuomo’s habits come across as merely silly, as when he ... Read More

Andrew Cuomo’s Horrific Decisions

Observers of New York politics over the past several years understand that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fanatical obsession with humiliating and overruling his fellow Democrat Bill de Blasio towers over every other consideration in the Empire State. Sometimes Cuomo’s habits come across as merely silly, as when he ... Read More
Media

The Attacks on Judge Barrett Have Already Started

Some left-wingers aren’t waiting for Judge Amy Barrett to be nominated to the Supreme Court to start attacking her. The attacks over the last few days have been steeped in anti-Catholicism, other types of bigotry, and lazy error. A headline at the left-wing website Refinery29 called her “the Potential RBG ... Read More
Media

The Attacks on Judge Barrett Have Already Started

Some left-wingers aren’t waiting for Judge Amy Barrett to be nominated to the Supreme Court to start attacking her. The attacks over the last few days have been steeped in anti-Catholicism, other types of bigotry, and lazy error. A headline at the left-wing website Refinery29 called her “the Potential RBG ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Get Your Facts Right

On the menu today: Another reminder that “People of Praise” and “People of Hope” are not the same group, and proof that “People of Hope” did not inspire Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale; wondering what Joe Biden is doing with his time these days; and two Senate committees release their ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Get Your Facts Right

On the menu today: Another reminder that “People of Praise” and “People of Hope” are not the same group, and proof that “People of Hope” did not inspire Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale; wondering what Joe Biden is doing with his time these days; and two Senate committees release their ... Read More

Why Not Make Democrats Angry?

Some of the Right’s leading thinkers, people I hold in the highest esteem, say circumstances are so unusual right now that the president and the Senate should do something other than what they ordinarily would do when a Supreme Court vacancy occurs: nominate and consider a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader ... Read More

Why Not Make Democrats Angry?

Some of the Right’s leading thinkers, people I hold in the highest esteem, say circumstances are so unusual right now that the president and the Senate should do something other than what they ordinarily would do when a Supreme Court vacancy occurs: nominate and consider a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader ... Read More