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Stop Violating the Civil Rights of Kids and Adults with Disabilities

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To:  The Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Health & Human Services
       The Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice

We are asking you to recognize the national scope of government sanctioned violation of the civil rights of children and adults with disabilities, and immediately bring it to a halt.

In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled people with disabilities had a civil right not to be segregated into institutions.  The decision made the government, through Medicaid and Medicare, responsible for providing the home health services that enable people with disabilities to remain with their families and in their communities.

Over the past year, federal regulators have directly intervened in at least seven states where Medicaid cuts to home health services appeared to be violating the civil rights of people with disabilities.

Over the past year, law suits alleging similar Medicaid civil rights violations were filed, heard and/or decided in at least fifteen states.

This is a national epidemic that is affecting at least 2 million children and 4 million adults across the country, along with their families.  New stories covering local versions of this story appeared in twenty four states and the District of Columbia just between January 6 and February 14, 2010.

We cannot continue to be a society that condones state bureaucrats threatening to lock babies and toddlers into giant cribs with metal bars for walls and ceiling.  We cannot continue to stand back while Medicaid insurance gatekeepers continue to value the freedom of a human life at no more than $6,000 per month.  And we cannot be so concerned with saving pennies that we willingly subject a child to a bloody, painful wound in their stomach every three months in order to save buying eight pieces of plastic a year.

Civil rights are federal.  They are the same across state boundaries.  They are not being enforced equally across state boundaries, and your offices all know this.  You must take action now to protect the lives and health of our children and adults with disabilities.


The Children's Disability Rights Education Association


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