AB 1400 sets in motion a single-payer health care coverage system in California, called CalCare, for all residents, regardless of citizenship status. By streamlining payments and lowering per-capita health care spending, CalCare guarantees quality health care and long-term care without creating barriers to care or out-of-pocket costs.

By guaranteeing health care for all Californians and establishing a payment system that eliminates waste and aligns reimbursements with the actual cost of care, we can make significant progress on health care as a human right.

The Latonya Reeves Freedom Act of 2021 (S.3417)

To prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and supports, and for other purposes.

From L. Dara Baldwin, MPA, Director of National Policy, Center for Disability Rights, Inc.

We remain in a pandemic and one that is killing millions of people around the world, hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and thousands of people in congregate settings like nursing homes and other medical institutions. Long before COVID and during this pandemic disability advocates have demanded to #FREEOURPEOPLE from these congregate settings NOW!  

The Latonya Reeves Freedom Act of 2021 (S.3417) introduced by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) on December 16th is a new bill that will do this! 

I send this information on this imperative legislation to all for your review. (below and attached) 

In the coming weeks, the Latonya Reeves Freedom Act Coalition along with Congressional offices sponsoring the bill will reach out for your endorsements and support of this bill. 

We look forward to the House introduction of the bill in a few weeks.  

If you have any questions or concerns please contact me. 

If you would like to join the coalition in this important work please send me an email. We meet the 3rd Wednesday of each month 12pm ET via ZOOM. 

From Sen Michael Bennet’s press release on the bill:  

Named After Colorado Activist, Latonya Reeves Freedom Act Would Strengthen Civil Rights to Help People with Disabilities to Live Independently – December 16, 2021 

Washington, D.C. –  Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet introduced the Latonya Reeves Freedom Act to strengthen the civil right for people with disabilities, who need long-term services and supports, to receive care in the setting of their choice.  

In 1991, Latonya Reeves fled a nursing home facility in Tennessee to move to Colorado. In Colorado, she could live independently while still accessing the care she needed in her own home. This legislation named in her honor would strengthen the federally protected right of individuals with disabilities to be meaningfully integrated into their own community and to receive long-term services and supports (LTSS). 

From Sen. Michael Bennet’s on>e pager:

In the United States, over a quarter of individuals, or 67 million people, are living with a disability. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. (Olmstead) that individuals with disabilities have a qualified right under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to receive supports and services while living in the community of their choosing. This landmark decision has assured people that they will not be forced into institutions, including psychiatric hospitals and nursing homes. 

The Latonya Reeves Freedom Act, named to honor a Coloradan who fled Tennessee to gain the freedom to live in her own home, would protect and expand the civil right of Americans with disabilities to receive long-term services and supports (LTSS) in the setting of their choice. 

*NOTE – the case discussed is the Olmstead v. Lois Curtis SCOTUS case. The fact that Lois Curtis is a Black disabled woman should not be erased from this imperative Supreme Court case. It has been too many years that this is consistently done! Olmstead was the Commissioner of Georgia Department of Human Resources who wanted to keep disabled people institutionalized – so let us STOP uplifting him! Language matters! 

CDR Blog Post:

Institutionalization Is A Public Health Crisis – August 3, 2021

From the post:

In March, the COVID Tracking Project at the Atlantic reported that about 8% of people who live in US long-term-care facilities had died of COVID-19 – nearly 1 in 12.  However, in nursing facilities alone, the death toll jumped to nearly 1 in 10.  As vaccinations began rolling out in nursing facilities, people expressed relief as the rate of institutional COVID deaths plummeted.  With the sense that victory had been achieved, disability rights advocates began to pivot away from the current public health crisis and started talking about planning for “the next pandemic”.  

Unfortunately, “the next pandemic” may already be here. 

During the early months of the pandemic, research demonstrated that community integration of Disabled individuals reduced the spread and deaths from COVID-19.  Research published in JAMDA, the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, compared the infection and death rates of people in Connecticut nursing facilities to those receiving services in the community and demonstrated that people receiving services in the community were 11 times less likely to get infected with COVID-19 and die than their nursing facility counterparts.  Although people may assume that the COVID-19 deaths in nursing facilities and other institutions were unavoidable or exacerbated because people in institutions are “sick” and “frail,” the research told a different story.  The researchers found that – after infection – the death rates in the community and in the nursing facilities were comparable which means the nursing facility residents were not, in fact, more “frail” than their peers in the community.  In summarizing their findings, the researchers noted that “The main distinction between groups was their living situation. It is likely that living in the community, vs a congregate setting, accounts for the significantly lower infection rates.”