People with diabetes won a major victory last week when the U.S. Senate passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act (S. 3406) by unanimous consent. This bill ensures that people with diabetes will be judged on their ability to do their job, and not be punished for how well the disease is managed. “We applaud the U.S. Senate for passing S. 3406, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act and we appreciate and recognize the leadership of Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Orrin Hatch (R- UT), Edward Kennedy (D- MA), Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Senate Leadership for moving this critical legislation forward,” said Dan Kohrman, Chair of the ADA’s Legal Advocacy Subcommittee.
The problem was the narrow way the Supreme Court had construed who has a “disability” as it was defined under the ADA. As a result, a person with diabetes could be denied a job explicitly because of his or her diabetes. The employer could successfully argue that because the person did such a good job with diabetes management, he or she didn’t have a “disability” and therefore could not pursue a discrimination claim. The ADA Amendments Act corrects this problem so that people with diabetes and other chronic illnesses are once again protected from discrimination.
We aren’t done yet. This week we expect the U.S. House to vote on the Senate version of the bill, and then it will go to President Bush to be signed into law.
The ADA supports the Diabetes Prevention Access and Care Act (S. 2983/H.R. 2210) which will promote research, treatment, and education regarding diabetes in minority populations.
The Diabetes Screening and Medicaid Savings Act (S. 755) will help families with a lower-income be able to get affordable and comprehensive medical care for their diabetes.
This bill will increase our ability to prevent new cases of diabetes and improve disease management by providing additional funding for the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control
And you can sign up for e-alerts here, for updates on federal and state diabetes legislative action.