The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), founded in 1979, is a leading national civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities.
Over the last decade, I’ve had opportunities to meet disabled people around the world and hear about their work to make the places where they live more accessible to and inclusive of people with disabilities....
My name is Michael Ogg. I am quadriplegic due to multiple sclerosis. This is how proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will affect me personally.
I have had progressive MS for over 20 years and, as a result, cannot independently perform any activities of daily living (ADLs) but am able to live in my own house with extensive long-term services and supports (LTSS) provided by very dedicated home health aides. Two years ago I had major surgery for G.I. cancer and now have regular oncology checkups and annual PET scans as well as being on daily medication.
I'm Ingrid Tischer. You may remember me as "headless female torso using a walker" from Anderson Cooper's "ADA Hit-Piece of Horror" on 60 Minutes. But I'm here today to tell you about a different type of horror: Being a plaintiff in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit, in which you're presumed greedy and where whatever happened to you was no more than an inconvenience.
Focusing on widespread barriers to care, these three, short video excerpts from our acclaimed HEALTHCARESTORIES series feature stories about inaccessible examination tables and weight scales and healthcare provider misperceptions and stereotypes. Advocates and practitioners alike recount their personal experiences and recommend actions for improving care. These downloadable videos present an all-important human perspective and affirm the barriers to care identified in a decade of research. Watch the videos.
In 1999 and 2000, the University of San Francisco, Access Video and DREDF conducted a series of interviews with some of the people who were central to the passage of The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
In June of 2015 DREDF began an ongoing project to provide audio description and open captions for this historic archival material and make it available to the public.
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
3075 Adeline Street, Suite 210
Berkeley, CA 94703
DREDF is dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities through legal advocacy, training, education, and public policy and legislative development. Your gift makes it possible for us to continue to protect and advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities. Thank you.
DREDF is a non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We manage and expend donated funds professionally and prudently. Donations are tax-deductible.
November 29, 2017
HHS’s recently released Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters proposes a number of significant “updates” to rules that regulate the ACA marketplaces, as well as changes in who is responsible for the actual monitoring and enforcement of those rules. DREDF’s response highlights our opposition to proposals to change how essential health benefit standards are established in each state, the way that provider network adequacy is enforced for plans participating in the exchanges, and the requirement that requires plans to limit their use of premiums for expenses other than medical benefits. DREDF also criticizes greatly reduced federal support for Navigators and increases on individual and family cost-sharing limits.
November 21, 2017
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center (CMMI) put out an informal Request for Information on September 20, seeking stakeholder feedback on a “new direction to promote patient-centered care and test market-driven reforms.” The RFI emphasizes choice and competition as the keys to higher quality, reduced costs, and improved patient outcomes. DREDF response emphasizes the critical need for enhancing and integrating long-term services and supports across all of CMMI’s models, including within accountable care organizations, advance payment models, and PACE programs for younger people with disabilities.
September 11, 2017
DREDF supports the two proposed new CMS HCPCS G codes, GYYY1 and GYYY2, that address prolonged preventive service(s) many people with disabilities require beyond the typical service time of the primary procedure. We anticipate that the proposed HCPCS G codes will lead to a clear and measurable benefit for Medicare patients with disabilities, as well as Medicare practitioners who must be prepared to serve an aging Medicare population, and who are also accustomed to having fee schedules that guide their expected allocations of resources and time. (September 2017)
DREDF objects to the proposal to eliminate the non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) benefit for MassHealth CarePlus enrollees, otherwise known as the Medicaid expansion population, except for transportation for substance use disorder (SUD)-related services. We think it is highly likely that MassHealth CarePlus enrollees might not have access to reliable, affordable and physically accessible transportation, and therefore NEMT is a critical component to access health care services. (August 2017)
In this RFI, HHS reiterated key principles of affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation, and empowerment for the agency’s work. Specifically, HHS requested public comments in four specific goal areas for individual and small group health insurance markets. DREDF addressed three of the four goal areas: 1. Empowering patients and promoting consumer choice, 2. Enhancing affordability, and 3. Affirming the regulatory authority of states. (July 2017)
The Community Living Policy Center at the University of California San Francisco releases a paper authored by DREDF entitled Promoting Physical and Programmatic Accessibility in Managed Long-Term Services and Supports Programs. The paper explores how managed long-term services and supports contracts promote physical and programmatic accessibility for enrollees with disabilities. (July 2017) Read More (PDF)
Disability Rights Groups and The State of California Reach Novel Settlement Agreement
Disability Rights California (DRC) and Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) reached a structured negotiation agreement last year with the California Department of Health Care services (DHCS) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to ensure equal and effective communication for blind and visually impaired IHSS recipients and applicants. Read More
DREDF Statement on Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees
DREDF strongly condemns the immoral and unconstitutional Executive Order issued by President Trump on January 27, 2017, which suspends all refugees from entering the United States for 120 days, bans all people coming from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, for 90 days, and prohibits refugees from Syria for an undetermined time.
The Executive Order could have a devastating impact for people with disabilities. Not only are people with disabilities among those displaced during conflict, people also become disabled during conflict and while seeking refuge. Research conducted in refugee settlements shows that the rate of disability among refugees is higher than that in the general population, and their access to the support and accommodations needed to benefit even minimally from basic services is severely lacking.
The ban will inevitably have a disparate impact on immigrants with disabilities because their options for emigration are already limited by discriminatory policies. A number of countries, including the United States, already make emigration difficult for individuals with disabilities and families who have children with disabilities based on the biased assumption that they could be a burden on society. The Executive Order further disadvantages children and adults with disabilities seeking to immigrate to the U.S.
Our country must be better than this. The Trump Executive Order has little to do with national security, and everything to do with prejudice. We join all who are calling for President Trump to cancel this Executive Order. We are a nation of immigrants and indigenous peoples whose diversity is what has made us a beacon of freedom — we must not allow policies or actions based on unfounded fears and prejudices to extinguish our light.
DREDF’s directing attorney Arlene Mayerson and co-counsel Samuel Bagenstos, the National Disability Rights Network, and Morrison Foerster filed an Amicus brief in the Endrew F. vs. Douglas County School District case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court will hear the argument on January 11, 2017. The Court will decide what level of educational benefit schools are required to provide to children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Read the brief (PDF).
Johnny T. and Lihn N. v. Vy Chi Nguyen, MD, et al.
Despite advances in education, awareness, and legal protections, people living with HIV continue to face stigma and discrimination in critical areas such as health care. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits medical providers from discriminating against potential or actual patients based on their disabilities. Johnny T. and Linh N. experienced discrimination when they were informed by their long-time CalOptima Medi-Cal physician that he would no longer treat them, citing a CalOptima policy as apparent justification. According to the provider, CalOptima informed him that he could not treat patients with HIV unless he had a separate waiting area for them. The Complaint was filed in November 2016. Read the Press Release and the Complaint.
Ninth Circuit Takes California Department Of Education (CDE) To Task
December 15, 2016
“This is a major and unprecedented victory for children with disabilities. The corrective action plan requires reforms to the design of CDE’s state-level monitoring system that will benefit all concerned about CDE’s responsibilities to monitor and enforce special education laws,” said Larisa Cummings, DREDF staff attorney representing plaintiffs. The decision protects the education rights of students with disabilities and is the culmination of nearly 20 years of attempting to reform failed local and state-level special education policies. Continue reading Ninth Circuit Takes California Department Of Education (CDE) To Task
National and State Data on Impact of Affordable Care Act
People with disabilities at various income levels have benefited from changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Some of these changes include giving states an incentive to expand the Medicaid program to individuals with higher income limits and without asset limits, creating private insurance marketplaces where people with disabilities can shop for coverage options and potentially receive tax deductions or subsidies depending on their income level, and requiring insurers to provide coverage free of discrimination and regardless of an individual’s pre-existing condition. The incoming Trump administration has argued strongly that the ACA has been a costly mistake that provides few benefits. Today the federal Department of Health and Human Services, and the federal Council of Economic Advisors released lengthy and detailed data that illustrates the impact of the ACA on health coverage, our state and national economy, and the quality and costs of healthcare.
It is vitally important for the disability community to share our real- life healthcare stories with one another and with law and policy-makers. It is also important for us to see and understand the data behind the ACA. This allows us to refute bald and unverified statements with genuine facts that broadly support our own experiences of gaining access to the healthcare we need.
A Compilation of up-to-date state-level data (xlsx) that includes numbers on the uninsured, private market reforms, employer coverage, Medicaid, the individual market (including the Health Insurance Marketplace), and Medicare.
Like most of you, we did not foresee, and did not plan for the outcome of Tuesday’s general election and the incredible challenges that came with the results. By Wednesday afternoon, we began coming to terms with its implications not only for disability rights, but also the rights of all disenfranchised groups. As the reality of the moment set in, we knew we had to intensify our commitment to our core values: civil rights, social justice, equality, and respect for all.
The messages we heard during the president–elect’s campaign foreshadowed the likely actions of his Administration and the Congress. Many of the proposals will have a fearsome impact on people with disabilities, whether or not our new leaders have given any thought to their effects. But it will not be enough to simply rail against the threats ahead. As a community, we must be strategic and work together to find the best paths forward that will preserve and protect our cherished gains over the past decades. That course is not entirely evident yet, but what we do know is that it must include broader coalitions.
Disability is an intersectional issue—it crosses gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, race, ethnicity, income, immigration status, age, and religious belief. Disability crosses voting lines. Our strength lies in the alliances we have built and will build with these diverse communities that strengthen our voices and our collective causes.
You have our promise that DREDF will work in partnership with friends and allies to defend our hard won rights and fight with passion against proposals that exclude, segregate or discriminate against anyone.
We will continue our important and ongoing core policy and legal advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities:
Advancing technology access
Securing education rights for children with disabilities
Improving access to healthcare and community-based services and supports
Improving access to transportation and the built environment
Finally, at this historical moment, we also think it is helpful to remember that the United States President serves a four-year term. This fact alone offers hope and opportunity.