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Harkin Welcomes HHS Move To Strengthen Community Living Options for Seniors and People With Disabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, welcomed the announcement by the Administration that a final rule issued today will help ensure that Medicaid’s home and community-based services programs provide full access to the benefits of community living and offer services to people with disabilities in the most integrated settings. The rule complements the Administration’s Community Living Initiative, which was launched in 2009 to help expand opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy greater independence and to lead fuller lives in their communities.

“Today’s final rule is a strong step toward fully realizing the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Harkin said.  “Home and community based services are a critical resource in helping to ensure that individuals with disabilities have real opportunities to be full and meaningful participants in their communities, and to experience community life in an integrated manner.  Fulfilling the promise of the ADA is one of my highest priorities as we work to achieve the goals of equality of opportunity and full participation in society for every American.  I thank Secretary Sebelius for her leadership on this and look forward to working with the Administration and HHS on the implementation of this new rule, helping to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Iowa and around the country.”

Harkin was the Senate sponsor of the ADA and has been a leading voice for Americans with disabilities throughout his career.