On December 18, 2015, U.S. Senator Charles Schmer (D-NY) filed S. 2427 before the 114th Congress. The Bill is known as the “Disability Integration Act of 2015.” Many are asking exactly what the proposal will do for people with disabilities. Basically, the bill would expand access to community living for millions of Americans.
At present, it’s often far easier for people with disabilities to receive institutional care than community-based supports, but proposed legislation would ensure equal access to both.
Charles Schumer would require insurance companies to cover the cost of caring for a disabled adult in the community, instead of in an institution.
Under a bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., all individuals with disabilities who are deemed eligible for institutional care would be guaranteed the option to receive the services they need at home or in the setting of their choice.
Known as the Disability Integration Act, the legislation would dramatically alter the status quo. Current law generally assures people with disabilities care in nursing homes and other institutional facilities if they need assistance with eating, bathing, housekeeping and other daily activities. But, the availability of community-based services is often more limited and subject to long waiting lists.
Schumer’s proposal would outlaw such waiting lists and prohibit caps on services as well as other measures like low pay that may restrict access to community living.
“Individuals with disabilities have the right to live independent, fulfilling livesamongst their families and friends – but right now, they are often denied the kind of at-home services and supports that then keep them in institutional settings, far from their loved ones and communities,” Schumer said. “We need to be doing everything in our power to make sure they have the resources needed to live and thrive in the comfort of their own homes.”
The bill would apply to services provided by Medicaid as well as private long-term services and supports insurers. Under the plan, states would be eligible for a bump in federal funding for their Medicaid programs if they comply within a specified time period.
Advocates with the disability rights group ADAPT said Schumer’s proposal would be a major step forward by establishing community living as a civil right.