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Landmark Case: A Decade After Olmstead, Progress Slow on Disability Rights

Tommy OlmsteadMay 1995: Federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Lois Curtis against Tommy Olmstead, commissioner of human services in Georgia.

January 1996: Elaine Wilson joins the case.

March 1997: U.S. District court rules in favor of Curtis and Wilson, finding that "unnecessary segregation of people with disabilities is discrimination." State of Georgia appeals.

November 1997: An appeals court upholds the ruling, saying Georgia discriminated under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

June 22, 1999: The U.S. Supreme court rules in favor of Curtis and Wilson, finding that "unjustified isolation ... is properly regarded as discrimination."

January 2000: The federal government urges state Medicaid directors to plan for moving people with disabilities into community settings.

June 2001: George W. Bush orders "swift implementation" of the Olmstead decision.

2005: Federal Deficit Reduction Act creates a "Money Follows the Person" demonstration program to show states how they can shift money toward community-based care.

2007: The government issues $1.4 billion in grants to 30 states to transition 37,731 individuals out of institutions by 2011.

January 2008: Sen. Barack Obama calls the Community Choice Act "vitally important to the independence, community integration, and equality of hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities."

April 2009: At least 90 disability activists are arrested in Washington, D.C., after they are told that long-term care will not be among the Obama administration's health care reforms.

Our ChangeTracker tool discovers a change in the Obama administration's stance on the Community Choice Act on the White House Web site. (Versionista)

April 2009: Language specifically endorsing the Community Choice Act is replaced on White House Web site with a general statement of support for shifting disability funding to community services.

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