By Laura Halvorston, DMV ADAPT
Here is an update from National ADAPT on the Disability Integration Act:
For nearly three decades, ADAPT has been working to FREE OUR PEOPLE and ensure that people with disabilities are no longer forced into unwanted institutionalization. During this time, we have made significant progress in rebalancing how our nation provides Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS), fighting Medicaid’s institutional bias and securing the housing needed for our integration, but today Disabled Americans continue to be forced into nursing facilities and other institutions. Over almost-30 years, our framing and language have evolved and specific legislation has changed, but ADAPT has remained sharply focused on this issue.
During the last two-year session of Congress, we have successfully fought attacks on Medicaid, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Affordable Care Act, but we also leveraged our work to build new alliances and educate organizations and people outside the Disability Community about how elderly and Disabled Americans are needlessly forced into nursing facilities and other institutions. We have also secured support for our signature federal legislation – the Disability Integration Act (DIA). Today, nearly 800 organizations have signed onto our DIA Supporter List.
More importantly, we have a historic level of support for our bill in Congress. Although the paperwork has not been processed yet because of the governmental shutdown in the wake of the death of President Bush, we have picked up two more DIA cosponsors and now have 143 co-sponsors in the House. Of those, 21 are Republicans, including our lead sponsor, Representative Sensenbrenner. In the Senate, we just added Kamala Harris and now have 25 Senate co-sponsors. Never before have we had this number of cosponsors on our federal legislation and, right now, no other piece of bicameral federal disability rights legislation has the same level support and bipartisanship in Congress as DIA.
With Democrats taking control of the House, the 116th Congress will be very different from the last two years. We expect that House Democrats will pass legislation that hasn’t been able to move under Republican control. The Disability Community – and the Disability Integration Act – must not be left behind. It’s time that Congress FREE OUR PEOPLE!
That is why ADAPT, the National Council on Independent Living, and other leaders in the Disability Community have set an expectation that the House of Representatives will pass the Disability Integration Act before July 26, 2019. In fact, we specifically call on House Leadership to bring DIA to the House floor for a vote during NCIL’s 2019 annual conference, when more than 1,000 people – ADAPTers, NCIL members and others will be in Washington DC. Passing DIA this July with bi-partisan support in the House and more than a thousand people with disabilities on the Hill would set the stage for a major Senate push for DIA, ultimately leading to passage of the bill.
“More experienced” ADAPTers, will remember that on June 24, 1997 ADAPT secured introduction of the first piece of federal legislation that would ensure the freedom and integration of people with LTSS disabilities. After a long national campaign, Newt Gingrich introduced the Medicaid Community Attendant Services Act, H.R.2020. At that time, we had a slogan that “ADAPT’s Vision is 2020”. Nearly twenty years later, that slogan has become a Call to Action among ADAPT’s leadership as we look forward to passing DIA in the year 2020.
There is much more thoughtful detail to ADAPT’s “2020” plan for DIA than we can – or should – put in this email. We have worked closely with our bill’s sponsors to craft our DIA strategy for the 216th Congress and begin implementing it. We are incredibly grateful to Senator Schumer and Representative Sensenbrenner for their leadership on this bill. We cannot underscore how much we appreciate their hard work and support – as well as the tireless efforts of their staff.
Very soon, ADAPT will be making some exciting announcements related to this plan, but RIGHT NOW YOU CAN HELP MAKE HISTORY!
There is still time for members of Congress to become cosponsors of the Disability Integration Act (S910/HR2472). Ask them to build our momentum and become DIA cosponsors now!
You can see the current cosponsors and get the information you need to contact their offices at: http://www.c4ci.org/find_congress.php
ADAPT’S VISION IS 2020!
FREE OUR PEOPLE!