Jun. 21, 2019

Sanders Vows to Fulfill Promise of Olmstead Decision

COLUMBIA, SC – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders commemorated tomorrow’s 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Olmstead decision, where Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson won a monumental victory for the rights of all people with disabilities and all Americans. The Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. opened the doors of community life for hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities stuck in institutions. Sanders is committed to fulfilling the promise of the Olmstead decision by ensuring that all people with disabilities have access to both home and community-based services and accessible, affordable housing to ensure they can enjoy their right to live in the community: 

“We are experiencing a crisis in Long-Term Services and Supports in this country. More than 700,000 people with disabilities and older adults are on waitlists to receive the home and community-based services they need. Many who need services are not even able to access the wait list, due to oppressive asset and income restrictions that force those with disabilities to spend their lives in poverty.

“No one should have to choose between being taken out of their homes and communities or being denied the support they need to survive and thrive. We must no longer force people to “spend down” their savings and impoverish themselves in order to qualify for assistance. Our profit-driven health care system is failing our people. Our country deserves better. We must ensure that every person with a disability has access to home and community based services and affordable, accessible housing.

“Just this past week, the House of Representatives passed a vital reauthorization of the Money Follows the Person program, which has already helped more than 90,000 people with disabilities and older adults to leave institutions and enter community life. I call upon the Senate to pass this vital legislation swiftly, before the program expires at the end of September.

“As President, I will end the institutional bias that forces people with disabilities out of their communities by passing the Disability Integration Act, of which I am proud to be a sponsor, and enacting Medicare for All, guaranteeing home-and community-based services and assistive technologies to all who need them, without asset or income restrictions. And under my administration, the Olmstead decision will be vigorously enforced through the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, reversing the Trump Administration’s disgraceful rollback of disability rights enforcement.

“Every person with a disability deserves the right to live in the community and have access to the services and supports they need to pursue the American dream. It is our moral responsibility to make it happen.”