Gregoire won’t appeal disability lawsuit

OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire has decided to not appeal a recent appellate court decision that struck down budget cuts reducing the amount of in-home care hours available to Medicaid clients in the state.

Gregoire announced Monday that guidance from Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice affirmed that the state can reduce its service level and still be consistent with federal law if additional review steps are taken by the state. The case will return to federal district court for a final decision.

Disability groups had feared that if the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, there’s a possibility the justices could water down a landmark case on disability rights that was cited by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the 1999 Olmstead v. L.C. case, the high court ruled 6-3 that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires community placement of the mentally disabled whenever appropriate.

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