Have Almost 50 Years of Disability Civil Rights Laws Achieved Equitable Care?

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For almost fifty years, federal civil rights laws such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and Section 1557 and other provisions of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have prohibited discrimination against Americans with disabilities, including in health care. Despite these laws, disabled Americans continue to experience disparities in health and health care, from preventive care to home and community-based services. In its 2022 Health Equity Framework for People with Disabilities, the National Council on Disability highlighted some of these disparities and recommended remedies. To explore these concerns, this article examines disability inequities and potential solutions within six areas. It concludes by recommending the ratification of the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to reinvigorate US efforts to maximize the health and dignity of disabled Americans and support their full participation in the community.