Disability Policy News In Brief

June 5, 2017

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June 5, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 125
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Health Care

#SaveMedicaid Rally

AUCD is cosponsoring a national press conference and rally tomorrow featuring Senators Casey (D-PA) and Van Hollen (D-MD) and other members of Congress who are fighting to protect Medicaid from disastrous cuts proposed as part of the President's Budget and the House ACA repeal bill. The event, the #SaveMedicaid rally and Day of Action, takes place on Capitol Hill with local rallies being held simultaneously nationwide.  Readers can participate in person or using the social media using the #SaveMedicaid advocacy toolkit. The toolkit contains fact sheets, talking points, action steps, sample tweets, and all the information needed to participate in D.C. or in other locations.

AUCD is looking for those willing to gather and/or share stories about how the ACA and/or Medicaid has played a role in improving your well-being or that of someone you know. These stories help AUCD educate members of Congress about the importance of federal supports for health care and home and community based services.

  • AUCD has made it easy to share personal stories with a short online form that includes the option to upload videos and photos.
  • For those unsure if they have benefited from the ACA or Medicaid, AUCD created a list of questions and a list of Medicaid program names by state.


Congress is back from recess and the calendar is packed full of budget and appropriations hearings. Among the numerous hearings are those covering the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee will hear testimony from Secretary DeVos on the Education Department budget on Tuesday, June 6; the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee holds a hearing on Labor Department budget with testimony from Secretary Acosta on June 7 with Senate hearing on Labor set for June 8; Also on June 8, the Senate Finance Committee will hear testimony from Secretary Price who will defend the President's Budget on health and human services with the House Ways and Means Committee hearing scheduled for the same day in the afternoon. Last week, Secretary DeVos testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee where both full Committee Chairman Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Subcommittee Chairman Cole (R-OK) made very positive statements in support of funding for special education under IDEA.  CCD Education Task Force co-chairs responded with a letter thanking the Appropriations Committee leaders for their support of students with disabilities.

AUCD Network Funding

Rep. Chis Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the Coalition for Autism Research and Education, sent a letter to appropriators in support of funding for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs and the University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) programs. In addition, Rep. Smith sent a Dear Colleague letter to appropriations leaders in support of all Autism CARES Act federal funding, that includes funding for the LEND programs. Thirty-Five Representatives signed onto the letter. 

CDC Budget

Senator Bill Nelson (FL) sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Wednesday expressing his concern that the Administration's budget's proposed $1.3 billion cut to the CDC budget will weaken Zika virus response capabilities, particularly in his state of Florida. Congress last year approved $1.1 billion in funding to combat the Zika virus, but Senator Nelson said in his letter that the administration's proposed budget "fails to continue our commitment to protect America's public health, and instead slashes the very programs that have been effective in combating the spread of the Zika virus." The administration's suggested cuts include $35 million from the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, $65 million from the CDC's Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, and $135 million from the CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. Public health is facing a Zika funding cliff, with funding for many response capabilities running out in July. Read Nelson's letter here.


AUCD is pleased to report that the Respond, Innovate, Support, and Empower Students with Disabilities Act (RISE) Act will be re-introduced tomorrow, June 6.  This is the same bill introduced in the previous Congress by the same champions.  An identical House companion bill will also be introduced tomorrow by Representatives Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and Susan Bonamici (D-OR). The RISE Act amends the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) to ensure that students with disabilities are successful in college. The bill provides parents and students with information on disability services in one place; requires colleges to accept an IEP or 504 plan as evidence of disability when a student is seeking accommodations in college; and supports a technical assistance center for college faculty to learn more about the needs of students with disabilities. See a full summary of the bill prepared by staff of Senators Casey, Hatch, and Cassidy.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In today's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews John Tschida, Associate Executive Director for Research and Policy, about Managed Care and its importance. In case you missed last week's edition, Liz interviewed Julia Bascom, Executive Director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, about their new Medicaid toolkit.


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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