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OFF-KILTER with Rebecca Vallas

Nov 12, 2021

Some twenty months into the COVID-19 pandemic, estimates suggest that between 3 million and 10 million Americans may have “long COVID,” which can bring long-term and, in some cases, debilitating symptoms ranging from chronic pain and fatigue to brain fog, respiratory problems, organ damage, and more. 

While experts may still be fuzzy on the exact number of so-called COVID “long-haulers,” two things are clear: this population represents the largest influx of new entrants to the U.S. disability community in modern history, and their ranks continue to grow by the day. But is America’s public policy infrastructure prepared to handle the coming tidal wave? And how was it faring for the 1 in 4 Americans already living with disabilities before the pandemic? 

Following last week’s deep dive into America’s house-of-cards child care system, for this week’s Off-Kilter, Rebecca sat down with three dear friends and leaders from the disability community for a look at America’s frayed caring economy from the disability perspective; the policies we need to ensure COVID long-haulers aren’t left out in the cold; and how Democrats’ Build Back Better legislation could begin to make transformational change. This week’s guests include: Matthew Cortland, senior fellow at Data for Progress and cofounder of the #DemolishDisabledPoverty campaign; Kathleen Romig, senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Elena Hung, co-founder and executive director of Little Lobbyists, a family-led group advocating for children with complex medical needs and disabilities (and Xiomara’s mom).

For more on all this: