Cartwright Introduces Legislation to Provide Disabled Medicaid Beneficiaries with Home and Community Based Services
Washington – Last month, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright introduced the Community Integration Act, H.R. 5547, legislation that would provide Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities greater access to home and community based services. U.S. Senator and HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) previously introduced the legislation in the Senate.
In 1990, Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. Subsequent federal regulation required that the provision of public services occur in the most integrated setting appropriate. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Olmstead v. L.C., held that community-based services should be available to individuals with disabilities when deemed appropriate by health care professionals, when desired by the individual, and when the request can be accommodated. Failure to comply with this constitutes a violation of the ADA.
“This legislation provides individuals with disabilities access to medically necessary services within appropriate settings and ensures that the intent of the ADA is fulfilled,” said Rep. Cartwright. “I look forward to working with Senator Harkin. It is vital that Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities have a voice in their receipt of care.”
The bill would require that states provide Medicaid beneficiaries requiring an institutional level of care with the choice and opportunity to receive that care in home or community-based settings.
The American Bar Association (ABA) and the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) have endorsed the legislation.
“All too often, the promise of the ADA rings hollow when people with disabilities are unable to find accessible and affordable housing and/or are challenged by the constant turnover of direct support workers or personal care attendants,” said Barbara Merrill, Vice President of Public Policy, ANCOR. “This legislation truly takes the ADA to the next step with the assurance that people with disabilities will have meaningful opportunity to live, work and be supported in the communities of their choice.”