Carrie Ann Lucas, a lawyer and disability rights activist best known for her innovative portrayal of parents with disabilities, passed away Sunday at age 47 in her hometown of Windsor, Colorado.
according to his obituary, which was posted to him Facebook page, Lucas died of complications "following an arbitrary refusal by an insurance company that caused a plethora of health problems, aggravating his disability and eventually leading to his untimely death."
Lyn Alweis via Getty Images
Carrie Ann Lucas in 2004
"We are saddened to hear of the death of Ms. Lucas," HuffPost told a representative of United Healthcare, Lucas' insurer, in an email. "Our health care advocates and clinical teams work extensively with chronically ill members and their families to help these people access the care their plans cover."
Activists and supporters of the disability community expressed sadness while paying homage to Lucas online.
Lucas suffered from a rare form of muscular dystrophy, used an electric wheelchair, breathed with the help of a ventilator, had low vision and was hard of hearing. In January 2018, she had a severe cold, which turned into a trachea and lung infection. United Healthcare refused to pay for a specific drug that she needed, says her obit. She took a "less effective" medication instead and had a wrong answer, losing functions, including speech.
"… Her insurance company thought that the medication she needed to treat a lung infection was too expensive. Instead, she approved a drug that would make her lose her word and her death, "said Rebecca Cokley, Director of Disability Policy at the Center for American Progress and a friend of Lucas & # 39; for the advocacy site Disability Visibility Project. "Carrie Ann Lucas died to save $ 2,000, even though it eventually cost the insurance company more than a million dollars to try to repair their mistake."
Kimberly Jackson, Lucas's partner, told the Fort Collins Colorado that Lucas went into cardiac arrest on Wednesday and died of an infection.
"She was a great person who has dedicated her whole life to helping others and I miss her so much, as well as the disability community," said Jackson. "We have a similar disability and she understood me as no one before."
Access to health care was an important issue for Lucas. As a member of ADAPT – a national disability rights organization – Lucas and other members have national attention in June 2017, after being arrested for organizing a sit-in in the office of Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), which lasted nearly 60 hours. The group was protesting the GOP's attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have resulted in a reduction in funding for Medicaid and compromised services that allow people with disabilities to live independently in their communities. It would also have created significant tax cuts for the rich.
"It's been very hot and cramped here, but we will not leave until we are convinced that Senator Gardner will vote no," Lucas said. Vox shortly before the arrests.
However, Lucas is best known for his work defending the rights of parents with disabilities. It started when a social worker told him Because of her disability, she could not adopt her niece, Heather, who had an intellectual disability and was placed in a foster home. Although she convinced a judge that she was able to raise her niece and that she then adopted three other children with disabilities, the frustration she experienced was the same. brought to study law.
After graduating in 2005 from the University of Denver Law School, she received the prestigious Equal Justice Works Scholarship for the creation of a program to combat discrimination against women. disabled parents. This program eventually became Rights of parents with disabilities, one of the only organizations in the country to focus on this issue.
HuffPost contacted Lucas' family for comments but did not receive an immediate response.