Disability Policy News In Brief

October 23, 2017

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October 23, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 145
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The House returns from recess this week and plans to consider the Senate-passed budget resolution. The Senate's Budget Resolution, which passed last week, assumes more than $5 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, including more than $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and $473 billion in Medicare cuts alone.  The Budget Resolution's sole purpose is the make way for the President's tax cut plan (see CCD Fiscal Policy Statement upon passage). The Senate plan also raises the defense spending cap and lowers the cap on nondefense discretionary (NDD), but does not change the underlying budget caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Please also see the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities budget brief.

To help educate the Congress about the impact of the budget, NDD United, a coalition of hundreds of organizations concerned with the non-defense discretionary budget, will host briefing on Wednesday, Oct. 25. During the briefing, NDD United will release an updated report, Faces of Austerity 2.0: How Budget Cuts Continue to Make Us Sicker, Poorer and Less Secure.  This report tells the story of those who continue to be hurt most by Congress' failure to protect programs that keep people healthy, safe, and educated.  The event will be streamed live on Facebook.


Two AUCD network leaders have been invited to testify this week at a hearing entitled "Working and Aging with Disabilities: From School to Retirement". David Mank, recently retired director of the Indiana University Center, will summarize the recommendations put forth by the U.S. Dept. of Labor Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID), for which he chaired.  Tamar Heller, Director of the Illinois University Center, will share her research and expertise related to people with disabilities and aging and employment.

Education/Regulations Review

Late on Friday, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released a list of 72 guidance documents that had been rescinded in response to the President's February executive order aimed at cutting back on regulations. The Department created a task force that is currently reviewing regulations in phases (last week we shared the Progress Report). The first phase involved reviewing guidance that OSERS has published on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab. Act), as amended. Initially, evaluated the guidance to determine those that were outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective. Kimberly Richey, acting assistant secretary of the OSERS, said in a statement that the 72 "outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective" documents had been "scrapped" to help fulfill the President's order.  CCD's Education Task Force is currently reviewing list of rescinded documents for their impact on individuals and families.  See COPAA press statement and link to initial analysis. See also some recent related press coverage. AUCD staff will participate in a briefing call with the Department tomorrow, October 24.


House Labor-HHS subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole announced the panel will hold a hearing on "The Role of Facilities and Administrative Costs in Supporting NIH-Funded Research" Tuesday, October 24 at 10 a.m. For a list of witnesses, click here. Live stream will be available on the Committee website.

Health Care

ACA Marketplace Stabilization

On Oct 17, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) Patty Murray (D-Wash.) reached a bipartisan deal to stabilize the ACA (aka Obamacare), which needs to be approved by Congress. Counter to the President's executive order to immediately discontinue cost-sharing reductions (CSR) (which are reimbursement payments to insurers for discounts they give policyholders with income under 250 percent (or less than $30,000 for an individual) of the federal poverty level), this deal would extend CSR payments for two years. The deal would also give states "more flexibility to change Obamacare rules".  For example, it would give flexibility in regards to what kinds of health plans could be sold in a state and allow for the creation of "interstate compacts" for the purchase of health coverage. For more information on insurance plans being offered across state lines, please see Interstate Health Insurance Sales: Myth vs. Reality by the National Association of Ins. Commissioners and the Center for Insurance Policy & Research. Please also see Alexander-Murray bill text and section-by-section details here and summary by Families USA.

50-State Medicaid Budget Survey 

This report provides an in-depth examination of the changes taking place in Medicaid programs across the country. The findings are drawn from the 17th annual budget survey of Medicaid officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and Health Management Associates (HMA), in collaboration with the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD). The report highlights certain policies in place in state Medicaid programs in FY 2017 and policy changes implemented or planned for FY 2018. The District of Columbia is counted as a state for the purposes of this report. Given differences in the financing structure of their programs, the U.S. territories were not included in this analysis.

Hearing: Healthy Choices and Health Outcomes

On October 19, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing titled Examining How Healthy Choices Can Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Costs. Jennifer Mathis, co-chair of the CCD Rights Taskforce, provided testimony regarding ADA workplace wellness program medical inquiries, Enforcement Guidance on Disability-Related Inquiries (EEOC), and the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act. Mathis emphasized the importance that inquires for these programs remain voluntary, and that people with disability nor their spouses should be penalized for choosing to keep their health information private. AUCD believes the EEOC can ensure that wellness programs serve to promote healthy choices and healthy outcomes, while also respecting the important civil rights of people with disabilities.

HCBS Settings Rule

On October 6, Washington DC is the fifth state to receive final approval for their Statewide Transition Plan. For more information regarding State Plans and criteria for initial and final approvals please visit hcbsadvocacy.org.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz interviews Amie Lulinski, Research and Development Coordinator at the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities.  Liz talks with Amie about the States of the States in Intellectual Disabilities. In case you missed last week, Lee Page, Senior Associate Director of Advocacy at the Paralyzed Veterans of America. They discussed the American Disabilities Act Education Reform Act (HR 620). 



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For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms 

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