Today is Disability Integration Act Call-In Day!

Disability Integration Act (DIA), S. 2427, was introduced on December 18, 2015 by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. This historic legislation would finally end the institutional bias in long term care in the U. S. by comprehensively addressing and eliminating barriers to community integration faced by people with disabilities. DIA will guarantee appropriate, cost-effective home and community-based services and supports (HCBS) without regard to the nature or severity of an individual’s disability and without regard to the source of funding of the long term services and supports (LTSS). If DIA is passed, public and private insurance providers that pay for institutional LTSS would be required to provide coverage for HCBS as an alternative to the institutional services. People with the most significant disabilities would be guaranteed access to HCBS in order to enjoy basic liberties. The passage of this legislation would also help individuals who need government financing or subsidies to pay for essential LTSS.
 
DIA prohibits waiting lists that are too long and never seem to move. DIA prohibits “cost-caps”, “service-caps”, failure to provide an essential service, services to only some populations, but not others and more; basically addressing every major problem people have faced within long term service systems. DIA also requires states to engage in comprehensive long range planning that not only addresses their LTSS systems, but that also addresses the shortage of accessible, affordable housing, the lack of accessible, affordable transportation and workforce issues such as low wages without benefits.
 
It has been 25 years since the passage of the ADA and almost 20 years since the U. S. Supreme Court, Olmstead decision. Individuals still do not have a clear right to the services and supports needed to realize full achievement of their freedom. The federal Medicaid program still allows and approves of States not serving certain populations, not providing essential services and not providing sufficient amounts of services and supports. States are still eliminating or radically changing programs, types and amounts of services and significantly altering eligibility. HCBS waiting lists, which are years long (and growing), still exist all over the country.
 
It is time for people with disabilities to have the right to home and community services and supports as alternatives to institutions and to end the institutional bias in all public and private LTSS! Like President H.W. Bush said when he signed the ADA over 25 years ago: “It is time to bring down the shameful walls of exclusion”. If you believe that individuals with disabilities have a right to basic liberty and freedom to live the lives they want to live please help Kansas ADAPT and the Self Advocates Coalition of Kansas (SACK) advocate for S. 2427, the DIA. Please participate in a Call-in/email effort asking Kansas Senators Roberts and Moran to co-sponsor this important disability civil rights legislation.
 
The statewide Call-in/e-mail Day will be on March 24th. Why the March? It was March, 1982, when Kansas’ very first Medicaid HCBS Waiver was formally approved by the feds. ADAPT and SACK want March to be remembered as “HCBS Month” in Kansas.
 
Senators Moran and Roberts have each supported similar, past efforts going back many years. Past bills they have co-sponsored include MiCASSA (various versions) and the Community Choice Act. Since they have supported the rights of people with disabilities to be free and to have choices, let’s hold them to continuing their support!
 
Senator Jerry Moran- Main Washington DC phone number: 202-228-6966
Email (use form on website): www.moran.senate.gov
 
Senator Pat Roberts – Main Washington DC phone number: 202-224-4774
Email (use form on website): www.roberts.senate.gov
 
If lots of folks contact our Senators on the same day, it will multiply the strength of our numbers. The final step in this effort is to report back about what kind of response you received from the Senate offices. Please email tilrc@tilrc.org to report back on responses/results of your efforts.
 
Thanks for your attention to and support for basic civil rights of people with disabilities to live freely and participate in our communities of choice!