Supporters of the Disability Integration Act held parties all over the country on January 15 to celebrate its reintroduction for the 2019-2020 session. Written by ADAPT and first introduced in the Senate in 2015, the DIA would ensure that people with disabilities who are eligible for institutional care would have the right to access those same services in their own homes, if they choose. Additionally, it would prohibit states and insurers that cover long-term support services from imposing any policies, cost caps, waiting lists or other limitations to community-based offerings that are different from those in place for institutional care.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has introduced the bill in the last three sessions. He summed up the need in a speech to supporters, “Right now a person who needs long-term support services and support has a very limited choice where they can receive services and it is irrational and expensive. People with disabilities are often denied the choice to stay at home. And get services. It means people are placed in institutional facilities far away from their families. Far away from their jobs. Far away from where they work. It makes no sense and the people in the disability community like the rest of us could have the opportunity to live the lives in a community they are part of with their loved ones. That is all we want to do.”
The Disability Integration Act has widespread support across the United States. The bill will build on the idea that the independent living movement was founded on. Disability Integration Act will mean that people with disabilities and elderly Americans no longer have to move into institutions to get the services we need to live our lives. The bill ends what disability rights activists have long called “the institutional bias” by requiring that any insurer offering long term supports and services must make them available in the community setting rather than only in institutions and nursing facilities.
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