REPS. CLARKE AND COHEN INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WHO NEED LONG TERM SERVICES AND SUPPORTS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 28, 2022
Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, introduced legislation to prohibit discriminatory practices against individuals with disabilities who need Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS).
Despite the Supreme Court’s landmark 1999 ruling in Olmstead v. L. C. that public entities must ensure individuals with disabilities have access to home- and community-based care as an alternative to institutionalization, people today continue to be forced into institutions, including nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals. The Latonya Reeves Freedom Act would codify existing law and strengthen the right of Americans with disabilities to receive Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) in the setting of their choice, including a prohibition on government entities and insurance providers from denying home- and community-based services to individuals with disabilities that require LTSS. The legislation is named in honor of Latonya Reeves, a woman who was forced to flee a Tennessee nursing home to move to Colorado so she could access the care she needed to live independently in her own home.
“For far too long, people with disabilities have had their homes and lives taken from them through forced institutionalization without any say of their own. No one should lose their freedom for the sake of care, regardless of their disability,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “This legislation is a necessary step towards ensuring people like Latonya Reeves are given the care they need in the communities they know, not the nursing homes they are forced to live in.”
“Latonya Reeves was forced to leave Memphis so she could escape life in a nursing home. Neither she nor any other person should have to choose between getting institutionalized or moving thousands of miles away from one’s community to access the services and supports needed to lead an independent life in one’s own home,” said Congressman Cohen. “Our legislation will codify a person’s right to receive services in the setting of their choice and help protect millions of other Americans with disabilities’ freedom to live and work independently in their own homes and communities
Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Clarke is a Senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where she serves on the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee, and is a Senior Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security.