HealthAAPD is committed to ensuring all people with disabilities have a right to quality, comprehensive, and affordable health care.
Many people with disabilities benefit from long-term care and support programs such as Medicaid and Social Security. These programs provide medical care, tools such as personal care aides, and other services. AAPD supports full funding of programs that benefit millions of Americans with disabilities. We advocate for an emphasis on community-based care, which provides access to family, employment, community, and full participation. AAPD also supports changes to long-term support programs that will incentivize participation in the work force.
The Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) as signed by President Obama made major changes to healthcare and insurance, and includes many provisions that will affect people with disabilities. The new law:
- Mandates health insurance for most individuals
- Provides greater choices for individuals with disabilities by eliminating insurance company discrimination based on medical history
- Provides more affordable choices and competition among providers through the creation of state-based insurance exchanges and tax credits to low-income individuals
- Provides new options for long-term supports and services
Increases coverage for home-based and community services
- Expands coverage and options for people with disabilities under state Medicaid programs
- Limits the amount of money individuals may be required to pay through caps and the elimination of annual and lifetime benefit limits
- Protects individuals against excessive and arbitrary premium increases
Provides more accessible and affordable options for preventive care and chronic disease
- Addresses health disparities through the collection of data on people with disabilities and providing training to medical professionals
With enactment of the law, reform is just beginning. AAPD continues to monitor progress and remain involved as implementing regulations are drafted, passed, and enacted, and will rigorously advocate for the needs of the disability community.
The abuse and coercion that has occurred in places where assisted suicide is currently legal provides strong evidence that no safeguards can be effective in ensuring that people with disabilities can make an informed and independent choice. Rather than legalizing assisting people with disabilities and health conditions to end their lives, AAPD believes we should focus our efforts on ensuring that home and community based services and supports and access to quality, comprehensive, affordable health care are available to ensure that people have options that enable them to live independently and with dignity.
Law Enforcement and People with Disabilities
In 2016, the Ruderman Family Foundation released a report noting that individuals with disabilities comprise one-third to one-half of all people killed by law enforcement officers and are “the majority of those killed in use-of-force cases that attract widespread attention. This is true both for cases deemed illegal or against policy and for those in which officers are ultimately fully exonerated.” The report faults the media for ignoring the disability component in these stories or telling them in ways that intensify stigma and ableism. According to the report, “When we leave disability out of the conversation or only consider it as an individual medical problem, we miss the ways in which disability intersects with other factors that often lead to police violence. Conversely, when we include disability at the intersection of parallel social issues, we come to understand the issues better, and new solutions emerge.”
The Center for American Progress found in their report on the mass incarceration of people with disabilities that “community-based treatment and prevention services cost far less than locking an individual up and keeping them behind bars.”
There are several potential solutions to improve interactions between police and people with disabilities:
- Crisis Intervention Teams – States and localities that have employed these teams have seen fewer injuries and deaths among officers and people with disabilities.
- Police Liason Officers and Specialized Police Officers or Non-Officers – Individuals who are trained in crisis intervention techniques and trained to better understand specific communities, such as people who are deaf or hard of hearing and people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
- Community Services – This is the most important solution to improving interactions between police and people with disabilities. Ensuring that people with disabilities receive the community services they need can prevent these law enforcement encounters from happening in the first place. We must stop using our law enforcement system as a substitute for a failing disability service system.