In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. It outlawed discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace, on public transportation and in government activities, and it went a long way toward evening out the playing field for people living with disabilities. However, there were still some blind spots in the law, so activists and lawmakers have put their heads together and come up with the Disability Integration Act (DIA), but what holes in the ADA does this new bill fill?
Do You Know What The Disability Integration Act Is?
There are over 1.4 million Americans living in nursing homes right now, and federal officials believe that many of these people could actually live and function at home or in their community. So what’s stopping these people from returning to their communities to live? Their government medical benefits.
Right now, Medicaid gives priority to nursing homes over community-based services that could allow people with disabilities the choice to live an independent life. Some states, like Texas, have taken steps to prioritize community-based services over institutionalization, but most experts believe that these efforts don’t go far enough. You see, most of these state programs have review processes that often force people back into institutions—even if they were approved for care services the year before. However, the DIA seeks to change that.
What Does The DIA Do?
The DIA would force states to prioritize community-based services, and it would allow Americans with disabilities to sue over discrimination issues as a form of enforcement for the bill’s measures. That means that more people would have the ability to request in-home long term care, which would keep them out of nursing homes and other institutions. According to a Harris poll from 2010, 84 percent of Americans support legislation for community services, and with a wave of aging baby boomers looming on the horizon, community service legislation is arriving just in the nick of time.
Do you think the DIA will make living with disabilities easier for Americans all over the country? How will it affect the people of Oklahoma? Tell us what you think about the DIA on our Twitter and Facebook pages, and keep checking in with our blog to find out more about new laws that are going to affect you.