Background Paper

Is Community Care a Civil Right? The Unfolding Saga of the Olmstead Decision
March 12, 2003


Randy A. Desonia


This paper lays the groundwork for understanding the implications of the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Olmstead v. L.C., which has far-reaching consequences for the long-term care of people with disabilities. The paper reviews the critical components influencing the case: the Medicaid program’s role in funding community-based long-term care; the Americans with Disabilities Act, which serves as the statutory basis for the decision; and the Court’s legal reasoning. The paper also describes the federal and state responses to the ruling and concludes with a brief discussion of some legal issues that will be debated in the courts.

Related Materials

See also the entry for the related Forum Session (November 23, 2003).

Other related Forum products include "National Spending for Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS), 2012," (The Basics, March 27, 2014), and Forum sessions on Medicaid managed long-term care (April 2008), consumer direction and Money Follows the Person (November 2008), and informal caregiving (September 2007).

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