Statement from Shira Wakschlag, Senior Director of Legal Advocacy and General Counsel for The Arc of the United States, on Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County v. Talevski:

“Today is a monumental win for disability rights and the principle that a private right of action is critical in the access, accountability, and antidiscrimination of our country’s Medicaid and safety net programs. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the rights of Medicaid beneficiaries to seek legal recourse when state officials are violating their rights. It sets a crucial precedent that will have far-reaching implications for people with disabilities in our health care system, housing, nutrition, education, disability, and other safety net programs. People with disabilities have long faced pervasive discriminatory treatment within American society, and they have relied on lawsuits to enforce Medicaid’s protections, including the landmark Olmstead v. L.C. case. One in four adults in America has a disability, the majority of whom rely on Medicaid and other safety net programs to live meaningful lives. Because of today’s decision, they will continue to have legal recourse if they face mistreatment or abuse or their benefits are taken away or denied, which happens more often than you may think. The Arc and our national chapter network help people with disabilities navigate these complex government systems, which frequently fail to help the people who need them most. Private lawsuits have been one of the only ways people can meaningfully enforce their rights in these crucial programs. This decision also ensures there is accountability for service providers, which has a direct impact on the quality of services and supports that millions count on. Ultimately, today’s win prevents the unraveling of 30 years of antidiscrimination progress set forth by the ADA, as well as ensuring that people with disabilities are less likely to be unnecessarily institutionalized. We urge health care providers, policymakers, and community leaders to embrace this decision and recognize the pivotal role safety net programs play in promoting health equity and ensuring the well-being of people with disabilities.”

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