Sasse pushes for disabilities protection in Phase Four legislation

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat

As the Senate resumes session, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement regarding the need to protect Americans with disabilities from rationing of ventilators.

“In a shocking number of states, Americans with disabilities can be sent to the back of the line for ventilators. That’s abhorrent. Human dignity matters, and disabilities like Down syndrome don’t undermine the right to life. Congress can’t re-write state laws, but we can regulate the Strategic National Stockpile of ventilators. As Congress takes up Phase Four legislation, we have a moral obligation to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities.” 


An investigation from The Center for Public Integrity, published on April 8, found that care-rationing policies in many states can prevent individuals with disabilities from accessing ventilators. 

On March 28, the Department of Health and Human Services warned states against discrimination. HHS’ bulletin was an essential step. More work needs to be done. 

Senator Sasse has drafted model legislation designed to ensure that no state shall receive resources from the Strategic National Stockpile during the COVID-19 emergency if their state policies discriminate on the basis of disability with regards to the use or distribution of that resource. Senator Sasse has been in talks with his colleagues and will continue to improve the legislation for inclusion in any Phase Four legislation.