SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined the State of Alaska and a coalition of attorneys general in sending a comment letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to oppose a recently proposed rule from his Department. If finalized, the rule, “Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Health and Human Service Programs or Activities” would supersede congressional intent in the Rehabilitation Act and impose onerous new mandates on local jurisdictions’ provision of care for individuals with disabilities.
When Secretary Becerra and his Department rolled out this directive in September, he claimed that “this historic proposed rule will advance justice for people with disabilities and help ensure they are not subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving funding from HHS just because they have a disability.” However, the attorneys general argue that this proposed rule “violates principles of separation of powers, federalism, and related regulatory requirements, and fails to consider costs and interferes with state budget processes as an unfunded mandate.” They also make the case that this rule “is inconsistent with Medicaid rules and federal funding.”
In their letter, the States write that the Department “cannot both claim that there is a nationwide lack of a broad array of services, technology, and durable medical equipment while also stating that there will be a negligible cost to adding this sweeping set of requirements.” The coalition also highlights the Department’s “attempts to trump the judicial and legislative branches by imposing a regime that Congress and the courts have declined to support.” They conclude their communication by demanding that “this activist attempt to undermine State sovereignty” be rejected.
Joining Utah and Alaska as signatories on the letter were the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Texas.