From the Hill (6.30.11):
Modernize Medicaid to better support people with disabilities
By Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)
This month marks the 12th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Olmstead V. L.C., ruling that the needless institutionalization of people with disabilities is illegal discrimination. Despite that decision, misguided Medicaid rules continue to force millions of people with disabilities to remain in nursing homes, against their wishes and at a much greater cost to taxpayers than many home and community-based alternatives.
Today, as we seek ways to reduce budget deficits, we must seize on the opportunity to make our Medicaid dollars go farther while finally giving millions of individuals with disabilities one of the most fundamental of rights: the choice to live independently.
The Olmstead decision is sometimes called the Brown v. Board of Education for people with disabilities. It questioned the widespread practice of forcing people with disabilities to live in segregated settings in order to receive services, and it opened the door for people with disabilities to live full lives and participate in their communities.
Adhering to the ADA’s “integration mandate” not only allows people to live the same kinds of lives that the rest of us do, but actually saves money...
Call your Senators and Representatives and tell them to support the Community Choice, Medicaid reform that saves money and supports freedom and choice for people with disabilities.