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AAPD Celebrates Supreme Court Ruling That Protects Rights of Medicaid Recipients

by | Jun 13, 2023 | Health, Press Release

Contact: Jess Davidson at jdavidson@aapd.com

WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, June 8, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in a Supreme Court case vital to preserving civil rights for disabled and other low-income people: Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana (HHC) v. Talevski.

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) released the following statement in response: 

AAPD is pleased that the power to hold state, municipal, and other government entities accountable for abuses and violations of rights was upheld in the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in HHC v. Talevski. 

The court issued a 7-2 decision, with Justice Jackson writing for the majority. In this case, the family of Mr. Gorgi Talevski, a Medicaid recipient and a person with disabilities, sued the Marion County-owned agency that managed Mr. Talevski’s care in Indiana. In their lawsuit, the Talevski family alleged that the county-owned nursing home abused Mr. Talevski and violated his rights when the nursing home involuntarily transferred him to more restrictive facilities far away from his family and chemically restrained him. Health and Hospital Corp (HHC) of Marion County argued that the Talevski family did not have a right to sue them at all and brought the case to the Supreme Court. HHC questioned whether people who receive public benefits through programs like Medicaid and SNAP could sue states, counties, and other local government entities when their rights are violated.

This ruling upholds and affirms these kinds of lawsuits as a means of pursuing justice and enforcing civil rights for people who receive public benefits. This is a win for Medicaid beneficiaries, disabled individuals, low-income people, and anyone else who relies on  government funding for housing, healthcare, and more. AAPD collaborated with other partners to file an amicus briefing in this case. 

AAPD President and CEO Maria Town said, “This ruling is an enormous victory in the ongoing fight for equality and inclusion of disabled and other multiply marginalized people. 

In HHC v. Talevski, disabled people’s use of litigation to address abuses by state entities is affirmed. Accountability for violations of Medicaid law and other disability rights legislation, such as the ADA, often relies on a private right of action to enforce the civil rights these laws establish. Lawsuits have been and will continue to be a vital tool in the continued protection and advancement of disability rights. As threats to civil rights grow, people with disabilities must use  every opportunity possible to assert our dignity.

AAPD joined other disability and low-income advocates across the country in consistent awareness and education efforts on this case. As we reflect on the solidarity that contributed to this victory, we express our sincere gratitude to the Talevski family, who in their time of loss and grief, chose to pursue justice for their loved one and ultimately contributed to affirming civil rights for millions of Americans.”