Disability Policy News In Brief

May 15, 2017

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May 15, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 122
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The House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees will begin public hearings on the President's Budget this week, even though the full budget request has not yet been released.  It is expected to be published the week of May 22. The first such hearing will be before House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for May 17. NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, is scheduled to testify and will be accompanied by five institute directors.

Last week, AUCD participated in the Friends of NICHD Hill Day.  Coalition members split up and visited nearly every member of the Appropriations Committees to discuss the important work of NICHD, including the work of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Centers represented by AUCD.  The coalition also recently hosted a meet and greet with NICHD director Diana Bianchi.

AUCD signed onto a letter developed by the Coalition for Health Funding in partnership with the Committee for Education Funding and the Campaign to Invest in America's Workforce, sent to House and Senate appropriations committee leaders calling on Congress to increase the fiscal 2018 302(b) subcommittee allocations for Labor-HHS. The letter, signed by almost 800 organizations, offered assistance in working alongside appropriators to help produce another bipartisan budget agreement to stop sequestration and raise the caps for nondefense discretionary programs.

Health Care


According to The Hill, "Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is predicting the Senate will vote on a bill to replace ObamaCare [ACA] before Congress' August recess, though GOP senators have refused to give a timeline." According to congressional staff, there are several working groups of Senators working on bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but it is still unclear at this point if there will be a bipartisan effort. With 52 seats, the Republicans in the majority can only afford to lose two Republican senators and have Vice President Pence break a tie, if they choose not to work in a bipartisan fashion. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities posted an article that explains the House-passed health bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), slashes programs that help people get health coverage, using most of the savings to pay for tax cuts for high-income households and corporations.

Medicaid State Data

AUCD, working in concert with CCD colleagues, is turning its attention toward educating Senators about the harmful impact deep cuts and structural changes to Medicaid would have for people with disabilities.  The AUCD network is also educating their Governors, state legislators, and federal policymakers.  To assist in this effort, please see these excellent resources outlining state data on health care and Medicaid:


You can find more resources at AUCD Health Care Hub.

Chronic Care Hearing

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will convene a hearing to examine the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017 and ways to improve health outcomes for patients living with chronic illnesses. The hearing titled, "Examining Bipartisan Medicare Policies that Improve Care for Patients with Chronic Conditions" will take place on May 16.

AHRQ Hearing

On May 25, the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will hold a meeting of the Health Care Research and Training Subcommittee of the Health Services Research Initial Review Group Committee. During this meeting, grant applications will be reviewed and discussed. Each subcommittee meeting will commence in open session before closing to the public for the duration of the meeting.


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

AUCD signed onto a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos drafted by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights regarding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan Review. The letter outlines the elements that every state plan should include and urges the Secretary to ensure that children receive the support and attention they deserve through appropriate implementation.

Career and Technical Education

The House Education Committee will mark up the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), a bill to reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.  The bill is almost identical to the bill that passed the House last year.  Unfortunately, the bill does not contain any of the recommendations provided AUCD and the CCD that would strengthen access for students with disabilities. The Senate has not

Civil Rights

Regulatory Accountability Act

AUCD signed on to a letter drafted by the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), voicing strong opposition to S. 951, the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) of 2017, and other measures like it. The letter expresses concern that RAA would halt and potentially reverse the progress people with disabilities have made by adding unnecessary procedures to the rulemaking process and changing the standard for judicial review of agency decisions. AUCD, along with other members of the CCD, will continue to monitor this bill and educate members on the negative impact this would have on people with disabilities as well as landmark civil rights legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and to expand innovative programs (like home and community based Medicaid waivers and state plan options).

Legal Services

AUCD in collaboration with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) sent a letter to Chairmen Frelinghuysen, Culberson, Cochran, and Shelby, Ranking Members Lowey, Serrano, and Shaheen, and Vice Chairman Leahy expressing our concern about the potential elimination of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). As organizations committed to advocating for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities to participate fully and equally in society, we value the critical legal assistance to persons with disabilities made available by the LSC. Despite the essential role played by LSC, the budget "blueprint" released by the White House would eliminate funding for LSC, leaving millions of persons with disabilities with critical legal needs without assistance to navigate many aspects of the legal process and denying them the help they need to ensure that their basic needs are met. The letter urges that, in determining appropriations for 2018, these committees ensure that LSC remains fully funded.

Family Support

The Senate HELP Committee unanimous passed the RAISE Family Caregivers Act last week. The purpose of the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Act is to begin a national strategy about ways to support family caregivers.  To learn more about this this bill, you can watch last week's Tuesdays With Liz:  Disability Policy For All where Liz Weintraub  interviewed Rhonda Richards from AARP.

Lifespan Respite Bill

AUCD is pleased to announce that legislation to reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Program will be introduced on May 18 in the House by Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Gregg Harper (R-MS), and by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). The bipartisan bill extends the program through FY 2022 at an authorization level of $15 million annually. In partnership with the National Respite Coalition, AUCD signed onto a letter to the lead sponsors in strong support of this reauthorization.

Home and Community Based Services

Settings Rule

On May 9, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an informational bulletin to states providing more information on implementation of provisions of the final regulation defining a home and community-based setting. The bulletin indicates that states may take an additional three years, until March 2022, to ensure compliance with criteria of a home and community-based setting. However, the deadline for final Statewide Transition Plan approval is still March 2019. CMS remains committed to providing technical assistance to states and other stakeholders throughout this process.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz interviews Leslie Kimmelman, who is a mother of a person on the Autism Spectrum; Julia, the new character on Sesame Street who has Autism, is based on the book that Leslie wrote about her son.  In case you missed last week's edition, Liz interviewed Rhonda Richards, a Senior Legislative Representative on the Federal Health and Family team at AARP, about respite care and the new RAISE Family Caregiver's Act.



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

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