Pew Charitable Trusts: Disabled Fear Medicaid Cuts will Diminish Their Independence

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Pew Charitable Trusts: Disabled Fear Medicaid Cuts will Diminish Their Independence

The current debate over Medicaid has Anastasia Somoza thinking about the Willowbrook State School, the infamous Staten Island institution for people with developmental disabilities that New York state ordered shut down in 1983, the year Somoza was born.

After touring the facility in 1965, U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy famously called it “a snake pit.” He described residents “living in filth and dirt, their clothing in rags, in rooms less comfortable and cheerful than the cages in which we put animals in a zoo.” Media investigations exposed similar conditions into the 1970s.

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