Act Repealing and Replacing Obamacare Passes in the U.S. House

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would repeal and replace many portions of the Affordable Care Act. The bill now goes on to the senate for a vote. One proposed change could dramatically impact Americans with pre-existing conditions, allowing states to secure waivers t0 permit insurers to charge more to those customers. Read more

Bias in Transplants for People with Intellectual Disabilities

People with intellectual disabilities are fighting bias at U.S. organ transplant programs, The Washington Post reports. Now, advocates are fighting for federal and state laws to clarify that this bias should not be allowed when considering a patient’s transplant eligibility.  Read more

Public Source

Report: Nursing home workers paid ‘poverty wages’ by profitable industry

According to a recent report from the Keystone Research Center, Pennsylvania’s nursing homes are misusing public funds. Although nursing homes are quite profitable, the report shows that the industry readily accepts government subsidies for healthcare provided to residents but pays low wages to employees. Advocates are now calling to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Read more.

Revisiting ‘Broken Shield’

This story from the Center for Investigative Reporting follows up on a 2012 investigation into the failures on the part of police to protect the developmentally disabled at California care institutions. The original series, Broken Shield, won the inaugural Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, the annual award of the National Center on Disability and Journalism.

13 deaths blamed on abuse and neglect at California state-run homes

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Newly released records from the California Department of Public Health show 13 people have directly died from abuse, neglect and lack of supervision since 2002 at state-run institutions for the developmentally disabled. The Center for Investigative Reporting sued the public health department in 2012 after officials there refused to release the records over patient privacy concerns. This February, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of CIR and compelled the department to release the documents.

These documents paint the most vivid picture yet of the poor treatment sometimes experienced inside California’s five taxpayer-funded development centers, which house more than 1,100 patients. In total, the centers have been fined for their actions in the deaths of 22 people since 2002.

Read more at Reveal, CIR’s new digital platform for its investigations.


Doctors’ Ignorance Stands In The Way Of Care For The Disabled

People with disabilities routinely receive substandard health care despite accounting for 20 percent of the U.S. population. Dr. Leana Wen, director of patient-centered care research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University, recounts an emergency room memory when a man in a wheelchair was passed over by the medical staff because they were unsure how to care for him. Wen calls for increased disabilities education and training in medical schools, reporting that more than half of medical school deans say their graduates are not competent to treat people with disabilities. Read more.

The Washington Post

How Medicaid forces the disabled to be poor (but some bipartisan help is on the way).

Medicaid-financed services are essential in helping millions of people living with disabilities quite literally survive. However, there is a major flaw in the oft-debated Medicaid system that is starting to be addressed by members of both parties in Congress– namely, that people with disabilities have to live, “officially at least, as a pauper.” In order to receive life-long care, Medicare recipients cannot have money saved away (as in a college fund for children) and must continue working to receive continued funding.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013 would allow people with disabilities to establish savings accounts to be used for a variety of purposes, including education, housing, assistive technology and other basic needs. ABLE, sponsored by more than 400 members of Congress, is on the legislative agenda again this year and is expected to be voted on in the coming weeks. Read more.