Disability Policy News In Brief

July 1, 2016

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday
July 01, 2016   |   Vol. XV, Issue 79
AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, FacebookAUCD, Disability Policy News InBrief, every Monday, TwitterDisability Policy News InBrief, every Monday, SharespaceAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, YouTube list Tuesday Morning with LizspaceAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, Subscription formAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, ArchiveAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, RSS

Editor's note: This week's issue of In Brief has been sent out early in honor of the Fourth of July. We hope everyone enjoys their holiday!

                                                         Celebrate 4th of July!     


Social Security

On June 22, the Social Security (SS) Trustees released their annual report on the current and projected financial status of the SS trust funds. The 2016 Trustees Report notes that our system continues to operate well for the American people; its financial outlook remains stable; and that it can continue to pay all scheduled old age, survivors and disability benefits until 2034. With modest increases in revenue, SS will be able to pay full benefits throughout the century and beyond. The 2016 Trustees Report finds that SS is fully solvent until 2034, but then faces a moderate long-term shortfall. For more information, see CCD SS Task Force Statement on the Report.

Zika Virus

On June 28, the Senate failed to pass a conference report that provided $1.1 billion in funding to support a national response to the Zika virus. The report, which had been agreed to by Republicans in both the Senate and the House, provided greater funding for emergency response and Zika vaccine development than an earlier proposal put forward by House Republicans but still fell short of $1.9 billion requested by President Obama. It also would have offset more than $750 million in HHS funds, including $543 million in funds set aside for implementing the ACA and $100 million in unused administrative funds. The conference report also included a number of controversial riders unrelated to the Zika virus. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to bring the report up for another vote once lawmakers return after the holiday, although it is extremely unlikely the same bill will pass. For more information about the report, see here.

Health Care  

Republican Proposal for ACA Replacement

On June 22, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled the Republican blueprint to replace the Affordable Care Act and fundamentally restructure the Medicaid and Medicare programs. The proposal claims an increased flexibility by providing states the option to choose a block grant for the Medicaid program or a per capita cap (though a per capita cap would be the default option); a block grant provides a set amount of federal spending regardless of enrollment, whereas a per capita cap does account for enrollment while establishing a limit on how much to reimburse states per enrollee. Either option results in a fundamental restructuring of Medicaid financing with the goal of achieving federal savings. Furthermore, if costs are above per enrollee amounts, the states would need to cover the costs or make cuts to provider reimbursement, eligibility or services, or shift costs to individuals receiving services or their family members. The plan also proposes to give states additional flexibility to increase cost sharing, add waiting lists, and limit benefits. Additionally, the plan intends to add a work requirement to the Medicaid program, end the option to expand Medicaid, and phase out the increased federal match for the states that have already expanded Medicaid. AUCD, along with the CCD Health Taskforce, is in the process of reviewing the proposal and will continue to provide input to Congress.


On June 29, Vice President Biden launched the Cancer Moonshot Summit, a meeting of more than 350 researchers, oncologists, geneticists and other caregivers, as well as cancer patients, family members and advocates. Participants shared their experiences with cancer and professional insights into how members from different sectors can collaborate to ensure more effective, accessible treatment, and better patient outcomes.

Overtime Pay for Home Healthcare Workers

The U.S. Supreme Court last week declined to review a lower court's decision upholding a rule that requires home healthcare workers to be paid overtime pay. The Supreme Court's decision not to review the case leaves the rule in place. The case, Home Care Association of America v. David Weil, centers on the Labor Department's decision in 2013 to change the definition of "domestic service employment" and "companionship services." The new definition states that third-party employers must pay overtime if a domestic service employee is hired to provide companionship services to elderly and disabled individuals who are unable to care for themselves. Previously, the third-party employers had been exempt from those rules.

Friends of NICHD

SpeakerThe Friends of NICHD held an event on Capitol Hill to inform lawmakers and their aides about the impact that maternal exposure to the Zika virus can have upon child health and development. Dr. Cathy Spong, Acting Director of the NICHD led a group of presenters who discussed research concerning the Zika virus and pregnancy, as well as child nutrition, early cognitive development and rehabilitation methods for children who are born with microcephaly. The presenters included Dr. John Colombo, the Director of the Life Span Institute, AUCD's IDDRC located at the University of Kansas.  Dr. Colombo shared findings from research concerning connections between maternal nutrition and child development, and urged lawmakers to act in light of the growing severity of the Zika crisis. All speakers' presentations can be found here.


State of Employment of People with Disabilities         

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a new report on the state of employment of people with disabilities over the course of the last year. The report identified major continuing employment gaps, as individuals with disabilities were more likely to be unemployed than individuals without a disability across all educational attainment groups. Although the unemployment rate for people with disabilities (10.7%) remained nearly twice that of people without disabilities (5.1%), it fell more significantly in 2015, declining by 1.8% over the year. In contrast, the unemployment rate people with a disabilities decreased by only 0.8%. Meanwhile, the employment-population ratio for persons with a disability increased to 17.5% in 2015, returning to its 2013 level. To read more highlights from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' findings, see here.

WIOA Regulations

On June 30, the Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, House and Urban Development released the final regulations for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The regulations are divided into four separate documents - final regulations covering Titles I, III and the Joint Rule for Unified and Combined State Plans, Performance Accountability and the One-Stop System will be published in the Federal Register in the next few weeks and will be effective 60 days after this publication. Regulations covering the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program, State Supported Employment Services Program and Limitations on the Use of Subminimum Wages, those on WIOA Miscellaneous Program Changes and the Programs and Activities Authorized by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (Title II) will be published in the Federal Register in July and be effective 30 days after published. AUCD submitted comments on the Notices of Proposed Rulemaking in May of 2015. 


On June 28, Reps. Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA), introduced the bipartisan "Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act". The bill reauthorizes and reforms the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and improves alignment with the updated Every Student Succeeds Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Jim Langevin (D-RI), and Rick Nolan (D-MN) are also original co-sponsors.  See the House Committee on Education and the Workforce for a staff summary.  Please contact Kim Musheno with suggestions for changes to the legislation.

U.S. Education Secretary John King also testified, again, before the Senate HELP Committee to defend the Administration's proposed regulations implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The Alliance for Excellent Education summarizes the hearing succinctly in this week's Federal Flash.

International Disability Rights

The island nation of Comoros became the 165th country to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), having signed the disability treaty in 2007. The United States still has not ratified the treaty, having signed it in 2009 and last voted on it in the Senate in 2013.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All       

Next Tuesday's (July 5) edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz Weintraub interviews Kelly Israel from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) about the proposed FDA rule to ban the use of electric shock devices. In case you missed last week's edition, Liz spoke to David Frye from the Vermont LGBTQ Disabilities Network about being gay and having a disability. 

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 

AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910