AUCD Legislative News In Brief

April 2, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  April 2, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 14
  
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Congressional Schedule
The House and Senate are in recess for the next two weeks.  Recess is an excellent time to meet with your members of Congress while they are in their district offices.  Visit AUCD's
public policy page to learn about the issues that are active in Congress right now. 

Budget & Appropriations
The House approved Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's budget resolution by a mostly party-line vote of 228-191 Thursday.  The resolution limits federal discretionary funding to $1.028 trillion, $19 billion less than the spending cap established by the Budget Control Act (BCA).  Within that cap, the resolution increases spending for defense at the expense of other discretionary programs.  The House rejected several alternative budgets, including the President's budget proposal and a bipartisan budget based on the recommendations of the President's fiscal commission.  

Now that the House has passed its budget resolution, the appropriations process will begin.  The Senate has not developed a budget resolution, but instead has operated under the spending limits in the BCA.  The Senate is expected to unveil spending allocations for the annual appropriations bills when it returns from the two-week recess. 

Sequestration
The Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-025) that was passed last August created a process for automatic, across-the-board cuts ("sequestration") beginning in January 2013 unless Congress changes the law to reduce the deficit in a more balanced way.  (See
March 19 In Brief for background.)  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.

Health Care Reform
After a busy three days of oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act, everyone is wondering what the Supreme Court will decide.  The Court could uphold the law in its entirety, overturn it, strike some provisions while leaving others intact, or rule that a decision about its constitutionality must wait until the law takes full effect.  The Court is expected to issue a decision in June.  For more information on the case and audio from all three days of arguments, visit AUCD's Health Reform Hub.  

Medicaid
The National Council on Disability recently released an analysis and recommendations for the implementation of managed care in Medicaid and Medicare for people with disabilities.  In an attempt to control costs, states have been proposing to adopt Medicaid managed care systems that encompass both acute care and long-term services and supports.  But these systems only work for people with disabilities if they can achieve cost savings by improving health outcomes and eliminating inefficiencies, not by reducing the quality of available care.  NCD also developed guiding principles for successfully enrolling people with disabilities in managed care plans.  Some of the principles include assisting individuals to live in the community, implementing person-centered practices and consumer choice, and providing support to family caregivers. 

Employment
The week after House Democrats introduced a bill to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, three House Republicans introduced their own WIA reauthorization bill last Thursday.  Representatives Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Howard McKeon (R-CA) and Joe Heck (R-NV) introduced H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012.  The bill would consolidate 27 existing job training programs into a single Workforce Investment Fund to provide formula funds to state and local workforce investment boards.  Among a number of changes the bill makes to the Vocational Rehabilitation program, it would consolidate two programs, Projects with Industry and State-Supported Employment Services, into the existing VR State Grants program.  It would also give states the option to include Vocational Rehabilitation under the Workforce Investment Fund if they choose. 

Autism
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday that she invited 15 new members to serve on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).  The IACC, a federal advisory committee, was established by the Combating Autism Act of 2006 and reauthorized by the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011.  Composed of both federal officials and public stakeholders, the IACC provides advice, develops a strategic plan for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and coordinates all HHS efforts concerning ASD.  The individuals chosen to serve represent a variety of perspectives from within the autism community, including people on the spectrum, advocates, parents, clinicians, and researchers.  A complete list of the individuals can be found in the HHS news release.   

Affordable Care Act: Get the Facts
AUCD offers facts about the law and its implementation in this new section of In Brief.

ACA Facts: Ending Pre-existing Condition Exclusions and Discrimination
The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurers from discriminating based on health status or condition.

ACA Facts: Easy to Understand Summaries of Coverage
The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to provide clear, understandable information about their benefits and coverage.

Disability Policy Seminar
This year's Disability Policy Seminar is just three weeks away!  We have an exciting agenda covering all the major areas of disability policy.  Please visit
www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org to register and book your room.  You can also visit the Hill visits page to see a state-by-state list of attendees which you can use to coordinate with others on your Hill visits, as well as other helpful information. Make sure to schedule these visits before coming to D.C.!

Please note that this year's seminar is sponsored by Hammer Travel, which provides unique and customized travel arrangements specifically for people with disabilities. If you or anyone you are traveling with requires such arrangements, visit hammertravel.org, or call them toll free at (877) 345-8599, to learn more about the services they offer. 

 

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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