Former Miss Wheelchair Nevada was lobbyist on Medicare vetoed by Bush

When George Bush vetoed the Medicare bill, former Miss Wheelchair Nevada Madonna Long went into action. Long, who was paralyzed below the waist after a bus accident when she was in high school, lobbies Congress on disability issues. When she received news of the veto, she sent out an alert to her mailing list asking people across the nation to check their local senators’ positions on the issue and call them. The list she provided color coded senators for their initial votes on the measure and urged either reinforcement for supporters or coaxing change out of opponents.

Long, a one-time Nevada Assembly candidate, said that among items in the Medicare measure was language addressing “our concerns on competitive bidding, wheelchair purchasing, complex rehab wheelchairs, and physician reimbursement rates.” Her list named Sen. John Ensign of Nevada as an opponent of the bill who needed lobbying. Of the five Nevada congressmembers, Ensign was the only one to oppose the bill on both the original vote and the veto override. The veto was overridden in both houses.