Disability Policy News In Brief

May 29, 2017

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May 29, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 124
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President Trump transmitted his first federal budget request to Congress last Tuesday, May 23.  The entire budget can be found on the Office of Management and Budget homepage. AUCD staff developed a preliminary summary with selected highlights.  As staff continues to analyze the budget request, this summary will be updated on the AUCD website. AUCD provided a statement on the President's budget following its release expressing disappointment that the budget does not provide the necessary investments to meet the needs of the growing population of Americans with disabilities.

On May 24, U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos testified before the House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee where she defended the President's Education Budget.  The Budget request would reduce funding for the Department of Education by 13 percent.  During the hearing, there were many questions regarding the use of public funds for school voucher proposals (The budget proposes $1.4 billion for school choice efforts).  Chairman Cole (R-OK) also made strong statements expressing concern that the level of funding for IDEA is insufficient to meet the needs of students with disabilities. In response, CCD Education Task Force co-chairs sent a letter thanking the chairman for his support for increased funding for educating students with disabilities. See the committee hearing in full on YouTube.

Health Care
Last week, the CCD Grassroots Team, of which AUCD is a member, held a National Advocacy Call with hundreds of grassroots advocates. Senate staff joined the call to give the most updated information on the AHCA (with a focus on Medicaid per capita caps).  CCD leaders discussed ways state advocates can get involved in educating policymakers. State leaders who are interested in joining these advocacy calls should email Christine Grosso. Additional materials for state advocates are below:

  • Congressional Budget Office score for the AHCA, that estimates 23 million people will lose insurance coverage (14 million from Medicaid) and an $834 billion cut to Medicaid
  • A list of town halls and rallies during the May 29 to June 2 congressional recess
  • Talking points for advocates to use to educate Members of Congress (call the Capitol Switchboard to find your member 202-224-3121 )
  • State-specific information, including impact of caps, on CCD's Protect Medicaid and ACA site
  • June 6 "Don't Cap Our Care" Medicaid rallies and day of action. For more details visit the Facebook event page (which we'd love for you to share) or the website
  • Information about how children are impacted by these caps: AHCA's block grants and EPSDT
  • Faces of Medicaid Expansion, which describes Medicaid adult expansion and the diverse range of individuals and families covered under the expansion, including parents and family caretakers, people with disabilities and chronic conditions, low wage workers, and more.

Social Security

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act of 2017 (S. 1255). Since Social Security benefits are based on earnings, family caregivers currently face cuts to their own Social Security benefits when they have to reduce their hours of paid work, or leave the work force entirely, to provide ongoing support to a child or adult family member with a significant disability. The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act will provide a Social Security earnings record credit to family caregivers in these situations. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. AUCD supports this bill and will continue to monitor the progress.

Home and Community Based Services

On May 25, the state of Mississippi received initial approval of their Statewide Transition Plan (STP). Initial approval was granted by CMS because the state completed its systemic assessment, and outlined remediation strategies to remedy issues that the systemic assessment uncovered and is actively working on those remediation strategies. In order to receive final approval of STP, the state will need to complete the steps outlined in the letter from CMS. More information on Mississippi's plan and other state plans are available at HCBSAdvocacy.org.  

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In today's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Julia Bascom, Executive Director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, about their new Medicaid toolkit. In case you missed last week's edition, Liz interviewed Michael Gamel-McCormick, Disability Policy Director for Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania, about the importance of Medicaid.


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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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