Disability Policy News In Brief

June 19, 2017

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday
June 19, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 127
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

New Appointments

President Trump has appointed Mary Lazare to serve as the Administration for Community Living's (ACL) "Principal Deputy Administrator." In addition, the title for this position has changed from "Senior Disability Policy Advisor to the Secretary." Lazare comes to ACL from St. Louis, Missouri, where she has most recently served as Vice President for Home- and Community-Based Services for Lutheran Senior Services.  In another appointment, Juanita Balenger has been appointed to serve as an Advisor to the Administrator.  Balanger's most recent position was director of Virginia's TRIAD program, where she worked with local law enforcement and statewide chapters to help older adults learn to protect themselves from abuse, including financial exploitation.  With Lazare in place, Dan Berger announced he will return to his position as Deputy Administrator for Management and Budget.

Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, announced the hiring of Kimberly Richey, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).Richey is currently the interim chief advocacy officer at the National School Board Association (NSBA). She is an attorney who specializes in education law and previously served as Counsel of the Oklahoma State Department of Education, according to her bio on the NSBA site.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has instructed appropriators to begin marking up bills to discretionary levels required under the Budget Control Act for FY 2018.  For the non-defense discretionary portion of the federal budget that is approximately $516 billion. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittees may start marking up after the July 4th recess.  Congressional Quarterly reports today that the House may take up a budget resolution this week or next, but that date might slip. Since the deal to provide relief from sequestration cuts expired, this fiscal year full sequestration is back in play. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has prepared an analysis on the impact of sequestration on specific non-defense discretionary programs. 

Health Care

On June 16, seven bipartisan Governors sent a letter to Congress opposing the Republican health care bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and urging a bi-partisan approach to healthcare.  Signatories include: (Kasich (R-Ohio), Hickenlooper (D-Colorado), Bullock (D-Montana), Baker (R-Massachusetts), Sandoval (R-Nevada), Edwards (D-Louisiana), and Wolf (D-Pennsylvania). Kasich and Sandoval are particularly notable for their warning against the current Senate Republican approach, given that senators from their states, Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada.), are key votes on the bill. As these Governors stated, the AHCA "calls into question coverage for the vulnerable and fails to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out, while shifting significant costs to the states."

A group of 13 senators continue to meet behind closed doors to develop a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  It is anticipated that the bill will include huge cuts and changes to the Medicaid program that have nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act and could fundamentally and permanently alter the program to the detriment of millions of people who rely on it for health care, educational services, and community supports. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his intention to hold a vote on the yet unseen bill before Members leave for the July 4th recess (see also NYT coverage).

A new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that about 3 million children would lose their health insurance by 2026, an astonishing 50 percent increase in the uninsured rate for kids. In large part, this is due to the Medicaid cuts.

AUCD sent an action alert to the network urging them to educate their Members of Congress about the impact of Medicaid cuts to their states.  AUCD also co-sponsored a Senate briefing today on the impact of per capita caps in the Medicaid program.  AUCD is hosting state-based calls to support state-level activities around educating Congress. 

Tell Congress your story

AUCD is collecting stories to share with policy makers. Stories help us put a face on the issue regarding the devastating impacts of Medicaid funding cuts and caps.

Social Security

Rep. Kristi Noem has reintroduced legislation (H.R. 2792) to bar payment of Social Security benefits to people with an outstanding arrest warrant for an alleged felony or for a violation of probation or parole. This would revive a failed policy that had catastrophic effects for many people with disabilities and seniors, employing procedures that did not withstand judicial scrutiny. See a CCD Social Security fact sheet for more information: http://c-c-d.org/fichiers/CCD-SSTF-HR2792-06-12-17.pdf 

On June 8, Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Chair of the Human Resources Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means, introduced H.R. 2824, to reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.  Unfortunately, the bill proposes to pay for this valuable maternal and child home visiting program by cutting off Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits entirely for certain adults with disabilities and seniors by barring payment of SSI benefits to people with an outstanding arrest warrant for an alleged felony or for an alleged violation of probation or parole. It would revive an old, failed policy that had catastrophic effects for many people with disabilities and seniors, employing procedures that did not withstand judicial scrutiny. Based on prior experience with the former policy, people most affected are those whose cases are inactive and whom law enforcement is not pursuing. The bill may be marked up as early as June 21.  CCD and other concerned organizations have developed a sign-on letter opposing the pay-for.  The bill may be marked up as early as Wednesday, June 21.  AUCD signed onto a CCD letter opposed to the bill.

The Washington Post is publishing a series of articles regarding people with disabilities and federal benefits under the Social Security program.  Unfortunately, the two articles published so far are filled with inaccuracies and mischaracterizations. The first article, Disabled, or just Desperate?was published on March 30.  The second article, Generations, Disabled, was published on June 2.  The CCD Social Security Task Force responded with a statement outlining the flaws and misrepresentations and providing facts about the Social Security program. The Center for American Progress, Media Matters, and a number of other letters to the editor also responded to the misinformation. CCD makes a strong point that "reporting by anecdote runs the risk of fostering harmful policy changes" such as those already proposed by the Trump administration.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Xian Horn about her experience at the annual Disability Policy Seminar and how the DREAM Fund made it possible for her and her personal care attendant to participate. They also speak about how Medicaid helps her to work and live in the community.  In case you missed last week's edition, Liz interviewed Christine Liao, program specialist at the AUCD about the deaf culture and working.


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