Murray, Ives-Rublee hosted a Twitter live on the 22nd anniversary of the Olmstead decision, which held that people with disabilities have the right to home- and community-based services they need to live independently
Murray, Ives-Rublee pushed for a historic investment in home care in order to make the rights affirmed by Olmstead a reality in practice for all people with disabilities
(Washington, D.C.)– Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Mia Ives-Rublee, Director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress (CAP), continued to push for a historic investment in home- and community-based services, as President Biden has proposed in his American Jobs Plan, during a Twitter live. The event marked the 22nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, which held that people with disabilities have the right to home- and community-based services (HCBS) they need to live independent lives in their own communities. During the event, Senator Murray and Ms. Ives-Rublee discussed the challenges that people with disabilities continue to face in getting HCBS, and the importance of investing in this critical care in order to make the rights affirmed by Olmstead a reality in practice for all people with disabilities.
“I’ve heard from so many people with disabilities who have told me what a difference it makes to them to be able to live independently. I heard from a woman named Holly–she lives in Bellevue from my home state–and to her, getting those home and community-based services meant that she had hopes and dreams and desires that were honored in this country,” said Senator Murray during the event. “The President’s plan, the American Jobs Plan, will make a historic investment in home- and community-based services, so no one has to wait for two years to get the services they need, deserve, and that will allow them to live independently. I hear from so many people who desperately want to get the ability to have a job and participate fully in their community. But they’re on a waitlist—and that’s not tolerable. … Making sure you have access to home and community-based services is really a matter of civil rights. Every single person with a disability deserves the opportunity to live independently in their community—full stop. So I’m going to be fighting tooth and nail to get this effort across the finish line.”
“There are many, many issues and barriers unfortunately for people to get out of congregate care to be able to live independently or live as independently as they’re able to do … including the lack of funding, which has led to extended waitlists including for several years. We have seen individuals who have passed away before they were actually eligible for these services,” said Mia Ives-Rublee, Director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress. “It’s clear we need a historic investment in home and community-based services to make sure we keep the promise of Olmstead.”
Over four million older adults and people with disabilities currently receive Medicaid home and community-based services. But despite the rights affirmed by the Olmstead decision, more than 800,000 Americans languish on wait lists, sometimes for years—making it harder for people with disabilities and older adults to live independently in their communities. The workers who provide this critical care—who are disproportionately women of color—also continue to make poverty level wages and have little to no benefits.
During the Twitter live, Senator Murray and Ms. Ives-Rublee stressed that we need to build a caregiving infrastructure and make a historic investment in HCBS, as President Biden proposed in the American Jobs Plan. Senator Murray highlighted that this funding would help make HCBS available to every eligible American—ensuring better care for people with disabilities, better pay and benefits for care workers, and a better quality of life for families.
Senator Murray has long fought for expanded access to HCBS, and was critical in securing an estimated $12.7 billion in funding for HCBS in the American Rescue Plan, to ensure people with disabilities get the care they need during the pandemic.