ST. LOUIS — Melody Ping never thought she would be trying to moveout of a nursing home. She lived in a St. Louis apartment for 19 years and worked as an
accountant until two years ago, when she lost her job. Ping, who has
multiple sclerosis, couldn't find new work. When her unemployment ran
out, she ended up on Medicaid in a nursing home.
Ping, 51, is among tens of thousands of people nationwide who want to
live on their own, but instead remain in nursing homes, rehab centers
or state hospitals, often at a higher cost to taxpayers because of a
historic bias toward institutional care.
Ten years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court said that
bias amounted to discrimination. Now, as disability advocates
celebrate the anniversary of that landmark ruling, they worry the Obama
administration is backing away from a pledge to give more people with
disabilities the option to live at home.
As a senator, Barack Obama co-sponsored the Community Choice Act, pending legislation that would give
Medicaid recipients equal access to services in the community and not
force them into institutions. But the administration recently said it would
not address the issue as part of its proposed health care
The head of investigations for California’s Department of Consumer Affairs has resigned, continuing the fallout from a Los Angeles Times – Propublica investigation into lengthy delays in disciplining nurses accused of egregious misconduct.
According to a spokeswoman for the California State and Consumer Service Agency, the decision by Lynda Swenson to quit was tied to revelations by The Los Angeles Times and ProPublica about problems at the Board of Registered Nursing. Most investigations of errant nurses are handled by the Division of Investigation, which Swenson headed.
Congressional hearings generally follow a script. Lawmakers publicly
vent their outrage, administration officials offer plausible defenses,
and the outcome is inconclusive. But this month's airing of complaints
about the government's system for taking care of civilian workers
injured or killed while on the job in Iraq and Afghanistan was notable
for its unanimity.
Republicans and Democrats, Obama administration officials, private
insurance companies and injured contractors all agreed that there are
serious flaws in the Defense Base Act, 
a 70-year-old law that requires federal contractors to purchase special
workers' compensation insurance for employees working in war zones.
The Labor Department, which oversees the system, acknowledged that
it had failed to consistently provide for the needs of the injured.
Insurance carriers complained that tight deadlines and paperwork
requirements were outmoded for the complexities of a war zone. Injured
civilians recounted long, painful battles to get prosthetic legs,
prescription eyeglasses and other basic medical needs.