AUCD Legislative News In Brief

March 19, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  March 19, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 12
  
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Congressional Schedule
Congress is in session this week.  The House Workforce Protections Subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday on access to home companion care which was rescheduled from earlier this month.  House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is expected to release details of his FY 2013 spending blueprint Tuesday (see Budget).

UCEDD/LEND Appropriations
Thanks to those of you who made calls to get your Representatives to sign onto a letter to Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Chair, and Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Ranking Member, of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor Health & Human Services, and Education.  The letter will help to ensure continued funding for UCEDD and LEND programs as the committee begins making decisions about program funding for this fiscal year (2013).  The following eleven members agreed to sign the letter: Jim Langevin (D-RI); Jim McDermott (D-WA); Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY); Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH); Jan Schakowsky (D-IL); Edolphus Towns (D-NY); Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Bob Filner (D-CA); Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU); Don Young (R-AK); Rush Holt (D-NJ).  Please be sure to thank them! A final letter will be posted when it becomes available.

Budget
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan is preparing to release his budget plan tomorrow with subcommittee markup tentatively scheduled for Wednesday and the full committee scheduled for the following week.  The plan is expected to cap discretionary spending at extremely low levels and possibly include reconciliation instructions to House committees to make cuts and structural changes to Medicaid and Medicare.  This sets up another battle with the Senate, which does not plan to make structural changes to the entitlement health programs but intends to make some spending cuts balanced with revenue increases to avoid the sequestration (see Sequestration below) scheduled for January 2, 2013.  AUCD will be reviewing the budget closely for its impact on disability program funding.

Sequestration
The Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-025) that was passed last August calls for significant deficit reduction.  The first installment of nearly $1 trillion in cuts went into effect immediately and is accomplished through caps in annual funding bills over the next ten years.  The BCA also requires additional cuts that add up to $1.2 trillion over ten years.  Because the so-called "Super Committee" was unable to come to agreement on how to find these additional savings, a process of automatic cuts, called "sequestration", will take place in January 2013 unless Congress changes the law or finds a way to reduce the deficit in a more balanced way.  Sequestration will result in cuts of $54.7 billion each year from 2013 to 2021 in both defense and non-defense programs ($109 billion total).  In 2013, approximately $38.6 billion in non-defense cuts will come from discretionary programs and $16.1 billion from mandatory programs.  Some members of Congress are trying to exempt defense spending from sequestration, and some refuse to include any tax or revenue increases.  Under these policies, the bulk of the cuts would come from health, research, education, training, and other human needs programs. AUCD is collecting stories related to the impact that cuts of nine percent (9%) or more would have on our network programs and other programs that assist people with disabilities.  Please send these impact stories to Kim Musheno at
kmusheno@aucd.org to help us make the case that deficit reduction should not solely come from human needs programs. Rather, deficit reduction proposals must be balanced and include all parts of federal government spending and increased revenues.

Education
AUCD issued a press release and letter last week in response to a recent report by the American Association of School Administrators promoting the use of restraint and seclusion to protect students and school personnel.  The report relies on a survey of an undisclosed portion of AASA's members which appears to have little scientific validity.  AASA asserts that 99 percent of school personnel use these techniques "safely, responsibly and only when circumstances truly demand their application."  But new data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that tens of thousands of students were restrained or secluded during the 2009-2010 school year, and numerous reports outline instances across the country where students have been traumatized, injured or killed as a result of restraint and seclusion.  Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to limit restraint and seclusion in schools.  For more information, visit AUCD's Restraint & Seclusion policy page.  To contact your members of Congress on this issue, visit AUCD's Action Center.   

Health Care Reform
Last week, The Department of Health and Human Services released a final rule on eligibility for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.  The rule provides states with more flexibility in the eligibility determination process than did the proposed rule, released in August 2011.  The proposed rule would have required the state Exchanges to determine eligibility for federal premium subsidies or Medicaid.  But the final rule allows states the option of having Exchanges make only an initial determination of eligibility for Medicaid, while allowing state Medicaid agencies to make the final decision.  To decrease documentation burdens, the final rule requires Exchanges and state Medicaid agencies to use state and federal databases to help verify applicants' income levels and other information needed to establish eligibility.  The final rule also included new consumer protections that were not included in the proposed rule and allows individuals and families to more easily enroll in Medicaid and CHIP by implementing a single, streamlined online application.  The rule emphasizes that people with disabilities and those who require long-term services and supports may enroll in an existing Medicaid eligibility category, ensuring they receive fast coverage that best fits their needs. 

Affordable Care Act: Get the Facts
AUCD offers facts about the law and its implementation in this new section of In Brief.
Preventive Care
Under the ACA, many insurers are required to cover
certain preventive services at no cost to consumers.  For new health plans or insurance policies beginning on or after September 23, 2010, a number of preventive services must be covered without requiring patients to pay a copayment, co-insurance or having to meet their deductibles.  These services can include things like screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, HIV and colorectal cancer, as well as immunizations.  Preventive services for children are also included, such as autism screening at 18 and 24 months, behavioral assessments for children of all ages, developmental screening for children under age 3, hearing and vision screenings and a number of vaccines.  A number of preventive services for women are currently covered, with more to be added in August 2012.

Respite/Family Support Funds Available
The Administration on Aging released new program announcements for FY 2012 Lifespan Respite grants. This funding is authorized under the Lifespan Respite Care Act, which received $2.5 million in FY 2012.  Current grantees and new state agencies are eligible.  For more information, see the
AoA Funding Opportunity Site.  Letters of intent are due April 2, 2012, and the deadline for final applications is May 14, 2012.

ADA Rules
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design went into effect.  These standards, which will make buildings and facilities accessible, were adopted as part of the revised regulations for Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).  The standards set new requirements for fixed or built-in facilities such as swimming pools, amusement rides, and courtrooms, as well as newly constructed places of public accommodations.  They also refine issues that arose after the ADA's enactment, such as "lines of sight" for accessible and companion seating in stadiums.  Due to strong opposition and questions from the industry representing hotel pools, the DOJ announced that requirements for existing swimming pools will be extended for 60 days.  In addition, the DOJ plans to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on a possible six-month extension of the pool requirement, inviting public comment on whether or not an extension is necessary to address misunderstandings regarding compliance with the requirements.  For those interested in learning more call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (Voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY), or access the ADA website at www.ada.gov.

Disability Policy Seminar
Early bird registration rates end today! If you have not yet registered, please visit
www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org. An exciting agenda is being developed for this year's Disability Policy Seminar. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez and Senator Tom Harkin have both been invited to accept awards.  Hill staff and Obama Administration officials have also been invited to present.  Be sure to also book your room at the Grand Hyatt as the room block is filling up fast! 


For definitions of terms used in
In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms.

For copies of this and previous issues of Legislative News In Brief please visit the Public Policy Page of the AUCD website: http://www.aucd.org/template/page.cfm?id=164 

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