Disability Policy News In Brief

June 13, 2016

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June 13, 2016   |   Vol. XV, Issue 76
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The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a draft FY 2017 Labor, HHS, Education spending bill that would provide $161.9 billion in discretionary spending, which is $270 million below the FY 2016 level and $2 billion below the administration's budget request. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would receive $76.9 billion, which is a $1.4 billion increase over FY 2016. Within HHS, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive $34 billion, an increase of $2 billion from FY 2016. However, the Department of Labor would drop by $134 million to $12 billion, and the Department of Education would receive $67.8 billion, a $220 million decrease from appropriated funds in the previous fiscal year.

For more details regarding the Senate Committee's funding for AUCD network and other disability programs within the Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education, please see AUCD's special funding report on the public policy website. 

House Poverty Reduction Plan

On June 7, Speaker Ryan unveiled - A Better Way: Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility - that details House Republicans' plan to address poverty. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), has provided a detailed analysis of the plan. The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Poverty Ad Hoc Task Force is meeting this week to review the Speaker's plan.

Zika Response

On June 8, the Senate agreed by voice vote to join the House in conference over a bill to respond to the Zika virus. The vote occurred four months after President Obama requested $1.9 billion in emergency funds. The Senate bill appropriates $1.1 billion in funds that are not offset, while the House measure appropriates $622 million and completely offsets spending in other areas. The House bill would also expire at the end of FY 2016. President Obama has expressed dissatisfaction with both bills and issued a veto threat for the House bill. He continues to urge Congress to meet his full request of $1.9 billion.

Health Care

CMS recently released new regulations guiding Medicaid Managed Care. This is the first update of regulations in over a decade and incorporates Managed Long-Term Services and Supports (MLTSS). On June 22 the Disability and Aging Collaborative, of which AUCD is a member, will host a webinar to provide an overview of the new regulations. This webinar will provide an analysis of relevant provisions, including enrollment, network adequacy, stakeholder engagement, beneficiary support system and quality, and will also provide resources to state aging and disability advocates working on MLTSS issues.  Register here.

Home Health Services  

On June 8, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it is taking new steps to provide timely and appropriate home health services to Medicare beneficiaries, while protecting the Medicare Trust Funds and taxpayer funds from fraud and improper payments.  By implementing a new pre-claim review demonstration in five states -- Illinois, Florida, Texas, Michigan, and Massachusetts -- CMS says it will help to ensure home health services are medically necessary without delaying or disrupting patient care or access.  The pre-claim review demonstration will begin in Illinois no earlier than August 1 and the remaining states will phase in during late 2016 and 2017. Home health services are a critical part of the health care continuum and are instrumental in helping a patient with Medicare benefits recover after an illness or injury.  The Medicare home health benefit allows beneficiaries who are deemed homebound to receive certain medically necessary services in their homes, which is a preferred setting for many beneficiaries.  CMS is holding an Open Door Forum on June 14 for feedback and public input as they move forward with the demonstration.


The U.S. Department of Education and Department of Labor will publish final regulations to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed into law on July 22, 2014. ED will publish two sets of final regulations implementing changes to programs authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Act), as amended by title IV of WIOA, as well as implementing new provisions added to the Act by WIOA. The Departments have developed a comprehensive plan for technical assistance. As part of this plan, ED's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has scheduled three regional meetings to provide technical assistance on the final regulations on the following areas: competitive integrated employment, employment outcome, and limitations on the use of subminimum wage (section 511); transition services, including pre-employment transition services; supported employment; and fiscal requirements. The Departments invite State VR agencies, RSA-funded technical assistance centers, and all stakeholders to participate in these meetings; find meeting dates and locations here.

International Disability Rights

The United Nations is hosting the annual Conference of States Parties on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at its headquarters from New York this week. At the Conference, which is the largest global forum on international disability rights, advocates and government officials from different countries review global challenges and successes connected to the implementation of CRPD. AUCD staff will be present at this year's conference, which runs from June 14-16.

United State of Women

AUCD's own Liz Weintraub will represent AUCD at an historic national forum on women and girls, tomorrow, June 14. The White House Council on Women and Girls, together with the Department of State, the Department of Labor, the Aspen Institute and Civic Nation, is convening the first United State of Women Summit.  The large-scale effort is built around six themes: economic empowerment, health and wellness, educational opportunity, violence against women, entrepreneurship and innovation, and leadership and civic engagement. Health and wellness topics include the Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage expansion, improving healthcare delivery, providing preventive services without cost-sharing, and global health. The council is encouraging others to spread the word by sharing the Summit's video and by making an online pledge of how you will help change tomorrow. The event will be live-streamed on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.  Watch this film to get inspired and follow Liz via twitter @TuesdayWithLiz.  

Click here to view more information.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All       

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz Weintraub interviewed John Sorenson (Project Officer for the Money Follows the Person program and a housing specialist at CMS). They spoke about the challenges being a father with a disability in honor of Father's Day (June 19). In case you missed last week's edition, AUCD Policy Analyst Christine Grosso gave a tutorial of the HCBS Advocacy site.


For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For more policy news, follow Kim on Twitter at @kmusheno

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


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