AUCD Legislative News In Brief

November 26, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  November 26, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 46
  
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Congressional Schedule
The Senate has returned today from the Thanksgiving holiday, with the House returning tomorrow. The lame duck session is expected to continue until at least December 21st. The most important issue to be resolved is how to prevent the scheduled tax cuts and sequestration from causing the country to slide into another deep recession. Other items on Congress' agenda include a possible hearing on the dual-demonstration projects in the Finance Committee, and consideration of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce committee will also hold a hearing on Wednesday entitled "Examining Options to Combat Health Care Waste, Fraud and Abuse."

Budget/Appropriations
Legislative Affairs staff participated with other stakeholders at the White House to discuss how the budget negotiation impacts people with disabilities. The discussion centered on the urgency of passing a plan to avoid raising taxes on the middle class (those making under $250,000) and to use a balanced approach to deficit reduction, by raising revenue not just without allowing drastic cuts to programs that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities rely on, such as education, housing, and employment. These cuts are scheduled to take place on January 2, 2013, along with the expiration of a variety of tax provisions. AUCD sent an email to the network last week asking for stories related to the impact of possible cuts to Medicaid and the hardships faced by families with children with disabilities if tax cuts for middle and lower income families are not continued. Please send stories to kmusheno@aucd.org.

The Disability Treaty (CRPD)
Just this afternoon, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his intention to bring the CRPD to a floor vote soon. Details have not yet been determined. The impetus for scheduling the floor vote was that the 67 votes needed for passage were confirmed. Senator Roberts (R-KS) who originally expressed his opposition to the treaty has now voiced his support thanks to outreach by constituents, including AUCD network members. Senators Hutchinson (R-TX), Snowe (R-ME), Collins (R-ME), and Cochran (R-MS) also recently signed on in support of the treaty. Passage will be a huge victory given the misinformation campaign waged by the treaty's opposition led by Rick Santorum, U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), and Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association. Santorum, Lee, and Farris held a press conference on Capitol Hill today. While the opposition continues to voice their concerns with certain treaty provisions around sovereignty and the "best interest of the child," AUCD staff remains actively involved in meeting with Senate staff to address misconceptions, as well as gather support for the treaty's ratification. The third call-in/tweet day will take place on Monday, December 3rd, which is also International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In the meantime, please visit AUCD's Action Center to continue to contact your Senators and voice support of the treaty.

Health Reform
On Tuesday November 20, the U.S. Department of HHS released a number of proposed regulations and guidance regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These include proposed rules on: the insurance market reforms; the Essential Health Benefits; and a proposed rule implementing employment based wellness programs. The essential health benefits proposed rule and the health insurance market reforms both have 30-day comment period (due Dec. 26); the employment based wellness rule has a 60-day comment period. With the help of AUCD's Health Care workgroup, AUCD will assist the CCD Health Task Force to provide comments. The Department of HHS offers fact sheets on all three Rules: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/index.html.

 

Autism Hearing
On November 29, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Darryl Issa (R-CA), will hold a hearing entitled "1 in 88 Children: A Look into the Federal Response to Rising Rates of Autism." According to the Committee website, the hearing will "address the federal response to the recent rise in ASD diagnoses, as well as the allocation of government resources for ASD. It will also review research and treatment options for those diagnosed with ASDs." Current witnesses include representatives from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, Safe Minds, ASAN, ASA, and Autism Speaks. For more information, see the Committee website announcement.

Managed Long-Term Services and Supports
On November 30, the Friday Morning Collaborative, of which AUCD is a member, will host the first in a series of webinars that will promote learning and discussion to build the capacity of stakeholders on issues relating to managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS). The first webinar will provide an introduction to quality measurement and an overview of National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA), Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), and Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS). Additionally, it will provide background on the National Quality Forum (NQF) and give a "big picture" overview of the state of LTSS quality measures. AUCD members are encouraged to register.

AUCD 2012 Conference
The AUCD annual conference is next week. Online registration has closed with a record number of over 600 registrants. On-site registration is still available. Visit the AUCD website to learn more about conference highlights - including a Post-Election Analysis and a Federal Panel featuring Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor, Michael Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Michael Strautmanis, Deputy Assistant to the President, and Dr. Charlie Lakin, Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Ted Kennedy, Jr. will also be speaking to the membership the morning of the Hill visits on December 5th. For more information on the hill visits see last week's In Brief or contact Kim Musheno at kmusheno@aucd.org.

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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