Disability Policy News In Brief

July 10, 2017

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July 10, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 130
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Congressional Schedule

Congress returns from recess to a busy three-week work schedule before the August recess.  The Senate will be busy trying to find consensus on its health care bill.  Both the House and the Senate will continue marking up appropriations bills in spite of the fact that neither the House nor the Senate has passed a budget resolution.


The House subcommittees have passed seven of the twelve funding bills; the Senate plans to mark-up its first spending bill this week. The Labor-HHS-Education bill has not yet been scheduled for mark-up. Meanwhile, these markups are taking place without an overall budget resolution to provide allocations to the subcommittees. Budget Committee Chair Diane Black (R-TN) had hoped to bring a budget resolution for a vote this week; however, the measure has been stalled because of disagreements over the level of spending cuts that would be achieved through reconciliation.  Chairwoman Black has proposed achieving at least $200 billion in savings in mandatory spending over a decade, including cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. On the discretionary spending side, the plan assumes defense spending will rise and nondefense spending will fall over the 10-year period. The Senate has also not yet considered a budget. With so much confusion and only seven working weeks left before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, it is hard to imagine there will be enough time to pass all 12 annual appropriations bills on time.  AUCD members should continue to educate Members of Congress about the impact that proposed cuts in the President's Budget would have on network programs and people with disabilities.

New Appointments

President Trump officially named Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald as the next Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Dr. Fitzgerald, an obstetrician-gynecologist, has been serving as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health and state health officer for six years. Fitzgerald takes over the CDC as the administration proposes to cut the agency's $7.7 billion budget by $1.3 billion. Anne Schuchat, who has been acting CDC director since the Trump administration began, will remain at the CDC as Fitzgerald's deputy.

Health Care

Opposition to the Senate health care proposal continues to build.  Senate Majority Leader McConnell conceded last week that he still does not have enough support to pass the Senate bill to partially repeal the Affordable Care Act.   At least ten senators have expressed opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) in its current form.  Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office is analyzing the current bill, along with a version that includes an amendment from Sen. Cruz (R-TX) that would mandate that at least one plan sold in marketplaces contain insurance protections now provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Over the weekend, hundreds of people across the country attended town hall meetings and organized protests in opposition to the Senate BCRA. AUCD along with CCD is organizing a National Disability Call-in Day this Wednesday, July 12 in order to continue educating our Members of Congress on the importance of Medicaid and affordable and accessible health care. AUCD prepared a toolkit with information about how to contact policymakers and educate the public.

Home and Community Based Services

On July 3, New Hampshire received initial approval of their Statewide Transition Plan. The initial approval letter is the communication CMS sends to the state notifying the state that public comment, input and summary requirements are met, the STP is sufficient, but systemic and/or site-specific assessments are not yet completed. CMS was previously including detailed feedback (known as Attachment 2) within the initial approval letters that laid out the remaining issues the state needed to address before resubmitting back to CMS for consideration of final approval.  It appears this detailed feedback is no longer being included in the published initial approval communications to the state. Thus, it is important to request the state share electronic communications from CMS in order for stakeholders to have an opportunity to provide feedback and recommendations.         

Public Policy Committee

The AUCD Public Policy Committee meets tomorrow. Contact Christine Grosso or Kim Musheno or more information on how network members can get involved.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Sara Van Geertruyden about the importance of Person-Centered Care.  In case you missed last week's edition, Liz interviewed Xian Horn about her experience at the annual Disability Policy Seminar and how the AUCD DREAM Fund made it possible for her and her personal care attendant to participate. They also spoke about how Medicaid helps her to work and live in the community, leadership, advocacy, and the beauty within us all.



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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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