There are millions of Americans with disabilities lacking adequate health care because of a lack of primary care providers who are properly trained to treat them. In 2000, Healthy People 2020 cautioned that “as a potentially underserved group, people with disabilities would be expected to experience disadvantages in health and well-being compared with the general population.” Unfortunately, that statement continues to be correct. In particular, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) remain subject to significant health care disparities.
Right now, people with ID/DD are not included in the federal government’s definition of Medically Underserved Populations (MUP). That is why it is very important that awareness of this issue be spread so that the Health Resources Services Administration can take action to include people with ID/DD in the MUP definition. Failing that, Congress should act to ensure this community’s inclusion in the official definition. By including people with I/DD in the federal definition of a Medically Underserved Population, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will have access to better quality health care and better quality of life.
For more information, you can download ASAN’s policy brief as a PDF here.
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