This chapter helps the reader to understand the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), specific components of the ADA and how the ADA provides resources to older adults and people with disabilities. The ADA, while groundbreaking, was not initially intended for people with disabilities rather than for older adults. As time progressed, however, the benefits of the ADA were much more far-reaching than originally intended, especially for aging adults with disabilities. The individual titles of the ADA have had some dramatically positive and specific impact for older adults wishing to remain in their homes or in their communities as long as possible. Although the ADA is still in its young adulthood, the benefits of the ADA have only grown as new and further linkages, such as the ADRCs, have developed in all regions of the United States.
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This chapter discusses the history of the Medicare in the United States; specific components of Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D; and how Medicare provides healthcare resources to older adults and people with disabilities. Medicare, a healthcare program perceived to be a universal program rather than one based upon a needs test, currently provides healthcare to people who reach the age of 64. Comprised of four parts, it can provide hospital care, general healthcare, hospice care, home healthcare, and prescription drug coverage. The chapter provides an overview of the Medicare program, its various components, and aspects of healthcare that are covered through its component parts. Although there are currently no needs tests or limitations as to who qualifies for services, the chapter concludes with some dilemmas for the future of healthcare coverage, including “an empty pot at the end of the rainbow” and rationing of healthcare services and procedures.