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In keeping with the theme of this symposium, I would like to invite you to consider health care reform as a political shift in our thinking about the barriers and inequalities experienced by people with disabilities in our health care system. Traditionally, when these issues have been addressed, the predominant approach has been through a civil rights framework, specifically the Rehabilitation Act of 1973' and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).2 Now, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) offers a new approach. This essay will outline the barriers to health and health care experienced by people with disabilities, drawing upon my ongoing research into the impact of inaccessible medical equipment. I will then examine the role of civil rights law and of health care reform in addressing those disparities, and recommend the development of these as complementary, rather than competing, approaches.



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