The Senate has released a new coronavirus relief package, the HEALS Act. Unlike the HEROES Act passed by the House in May, the bill fails to address the disability community’s most urgent priorities, including additional funding for home and community based services (HCBS), which is desperately needed to help people with disabilities stay in their own homes and out of congregate settings, where they face a higher risk of infection and death from COVID-19.
It would also shield businesses, non-profits, schools, or medical providers from liability for serious harm related to COVID-19, which would threaten the safety of people with disabilities and older adults in congregate settings, make it easier for employers to escape liability for discrimination and safety violations in the workplace, and allow businesses to refuse to accommodate disabled people.
We need everyone to take action and push your Senators to include our priorities in the relief package that ultimately passes the Senate, so please contact them now! You can find more information, including call and email scripts, on our advocacy page. More information on our advocacy for people in congregate settings, including around liability issues, can be found here.
Rather than releasing the HEALS Act as a single bill, it has been released as a series of bills. You can find information on each of those bills here. For more on what priorities are and are not included in the HEALS Act, check out our summary here and for a quick comparison of the HEALS Act and the HEROES Act, click here.