WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania today introduced bipartisan legislation that would create a demonstration project to encourage states to improve opportunities for individuals with disabilities to obtain employment in the community, gaining self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion.
“A key public policy goal is giving individuals with disabilities every chance to live and work as fully in the community as possible,” Grassley said. “Medicaid is one of the biggest programs that provides support for the disabled, and it doesn’t do enough to achieve the policy goal. States have financial disincentives to do more under the current system. This bill would try something different. For participating states, it would change the incentives and help states do what they’d really like to do to better serve individuals with disabilities.”
“Medicaid provides critical services and supports to individuals with disabilities,” Wyden said. “This legislation builds on those services and supports by expanding employment opportunities and promoting integrated work settings for individuals with disabilities. This bill marks an important step to improve the lives of Americans with disabilities.”
“Those with disabilities should have the same opportunities for community participation and economic self-determination as anyone else, and this legislation reaffirms that,” Casey said. “This is a commonsense effort to encourage states to help those with disabilities enjoy life and work in their communities.”
The Transition to Independence Act, S. 1604, would create a five-year, 10-state Medicaid demonstration program to give bonuses to states for helping individuals with disabilities achieve the goals of working and living in the community. It would encourage coordination among those who provide health services, housing, education and workforce training, transportation and other support to people with disabilities to maximize the outcome for the individual. The bill would be deficit-neutral.
The National Council on Disability provided technical assistance in developing the bill. Other organizations supporting the bill include the American Association of People with Disabilities, the American Association on Health and Disability, the American Network of Community Options and Resources, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the National Adult Day Services Association, the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services and Autism Speaks.
A technical summary of the bill is available here. The bill text is available here.