Disability Policy News In Brief

August 21, 2017

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August 21, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 136
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The last time a total solar eclipse crossed the US from the Pacific to the Atlantic was in 1918.

Until today!

Today's total solar eclipse will cross the US from Oregon to South Carolina. Visit this website to find out When, Where, and How to See It (Safely).  


Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are still on recess through Labor Day. Recess is a good opportunity to meet with your members of Congress in your state/district in order to continue educating them on the importance of Medicaid and affordable and accessible health care for people with disabilities. Find your elected officials here.


AUCD signed onto a coalition letter to House and Senate appropriators drafted by the American Academy of Pediatrics and March of Dimes supporting $165 million in FY2018 funding for the NIH Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program. The goal of the program, which was created as a follow-on to the National Children's Study, is to investigate how a child's environment impacts health and development. The ECHO program is currently leveraging and expanding 84 existing child health cohorts and also runs a pediatric clinical trials network at 17 sites. One letter thanks House appropriators for the $165 million in funding they already approved in the committee-passed spending bill and the other letter asks Senate appropriations for the same amount.


Tax reform, along with health care, is going to be a challenging and time consuming process as explained by Rachael Bade and Bernie Becker of Politico. Bade and Becker explain in their recent article - Think Obamacare repeal was hard? Wait for tax reform - five reasons the President's top priority will be difficult to get through Congress: 1) bicameral budget conflicts; 2) intraparty fighting over whether to pursue true tax reform or just cuts; 3) the age-old struggle to alter well-defended incentives like mortgage deduction and the charitable donation write-off; 4) the threat of the Affordable Care Act repeal occupying more precious time; and 5) an incredibly full congressional calendar.

Health Care

AUCD signed onto a letter with the Save Medicaid in the Schools Coalition addressed to Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Pallone of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden of the Senate Finance Committee. The letter urges support a full, clean extension of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years at current funding levels. CHIP has benefitted from strong bipartisan support since its creation in 1997. By providing medical assistance to children who are not eligible for Medicaid, CHIP provides essential funding to support states to cover uninsured children. Any delay or a failure to immediately extend funding for CHIP (which is scheduled to expire at the end of September) will jeopardize coverage for children who are eligible for school-based health-related services leading to immediate and lasting harmful effects. A lapse in coverage for children places more barriers on their ability to come to school ready to learn. During a time of great uncertainty in the healthcare system, children need the consistent, reliable health coverage CHIP provides today.


AUCD signed onto a letter, along with the National Federation of the Blind, to support and endorse both the Department of Education's regulations implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration's (RSA) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) with respect to the definition of competitive integrated employment. The letter to Secretary DeVos emphasizes that these items are consistent with congressional intent and should not be amended. The letter also explains that state policies disqualifying AbilityOne from state referrals are consistent with the goals of WIOA, other federal disability laws that promote integration, and the United States Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead. The letter provides an analysis that illustrates that the appropriate solution is not to rescind the WIOA regulations but rather for Congress to amend the current statutes governing the AbilityOne program.

State Specific

On August 18, Seattle's Department of Labor Standards (OLS) announced that they are now taking public comment on a proposed rule change that would extend local minimum wage protections to workers with disabilities. According to the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities, "some workers currently only make 36 cents an hour."

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Eve Hill, current attorney at Brown Goldstein Levy law firm who previously worked for the Division of Civil Rights during the Obama administration. Liz and Eve spoke about Civil Rights during current times. In case you missed last week, Liz interviewed Bob Bacon, recently retired director of the Iowa UCEDD, about the accomplishments in the disability movement and his future plans.



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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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