Home health care nurses and family members of people with disabilities who receive in-home care have expressed concerns about a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and job instability due in part to to low wages. As nurses quit to take care of family members or avoid Covid contagion, remaining in-home nurses become more burdened and people with disabilities face a greater risk of not receiving essential care.
The Biden administration announced that the White House website, whitehouse.gov, will conform to the most recent Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Referred to as WCAG 2.1, the guidelines are a widely-used standard for judging if websites are accessible to all users, regardless of disability. The site also added inclusive features for LGBTQ and Spanish-speaking individuals.
President Biden is filling leadership roles in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with health policy experts – including disability advocate Alison Barkoff – who served in the Obama administration. Barkoff will be a top administrator in the Administration for Community Living, the funding agency for university centers on disabilities including CDS. Barkoff was most recently the advocacy director at the Center for Public Representation and previously worked on disability-related issues with the Departments of Justice, HHS and Labor.
Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services announced they were writing regulations that, if formalized by Congress, would represent a significant expansion of disability civil rights law. Among other measures, the regulations would explicitly prohibit medical workers from denying care to people with disabilities or issuing Do Not Resuscitate orders based on subjective judgments about patients’ quality of life.
President-elect Joe Biden announced plans for a sweeping Covid relief and economic stimulus package that would include closing the loophole that allows certain businesses to pay employees with disabilities subminimum wage and raising the federal minimum wage to $15/hour. Biden’s proposal, called the American Rescue Plan, would also include one-time $1,400 checks for most individuals, a national vaccination program, increased support to state and local governments and boosted unemployment insurance, among other measures.