Disability Policy News In Brief

October 30, 2017

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday
October 30, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 146
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


On October 26, the House Budget Committee adopted the Senate-passed 2018 budget resolution by a narrow margin, with supporters acknowledging it as little more than a vehicle for a still-developing tax measure (see more below). The budget was adopted, 216-212, with all Democrats and 20 Republicans voting against the measure. This was the same measure the Senate adopted last week. Its reconciliation instructions allow for up to $1.5 trillion in revenue losses (deficits) over the next decade. It would also allow the cap on defense spending to be raised to $640 billion for fiscal 2018 (but not other discretionary spending), without the need for offsets. Sources say, some of the Republicans voting "no" had concerns over the possible elimination of the state and local tax deduction (SALT deduction) as part of the Republican Party's tax overhaul. The Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) created fact sheets on how the President's proposed budget would impact each state. Please also see CHNs budget and appropriations page for more resources.

Tax Bill

Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced that the tax reform bill will be unveiled later this week, with plans for mark-up the week of November 6, and an expectation for it to pass the following week. Like the ACA repeal bills, the tax cut bills are likely to lead to large budget cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and discretionary programs that support people with disabilities. 

Also of note, the tax framework released in September includes an end to the Medical Expense Deduction. If the bill ends this deduction, many Americans paying for LTSS costs will not be able to pay for both LTSS and federal income tax at the same time, which will result in a number of devastating consequences. For more information on LTSS as it relates to Medical Expense Deduction please see National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys fact sheets.

AUCD, along with many other disability advocates, continue to monitor this bill and education Congress on the negative impact it would have on people with disabilities and their families.

Health Care

ACA Market Stabilization Bill

As reported last week, on Oct 17, Senators Alexander (R-Tenn.) Murray (D-Wash.) reached a bipartisan deal to stabilize the ACA (please see last week's In Brief for more information). As of October 25, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which conducts nonpartisan independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues, reported that the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act would reduce the deficit by $3.8 billion over the 2018-2027 period. CBO also estimated that the legislation would not substantially change the number of people with health insurance coverage. View the full CBO report here.

Individual Health Insurance Coverage Bill

This weekend, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced legislation (S. 2021) to repeal Title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (which refers to the "quality and affordable of health care") and amend the Public Health Service Act to "provide for cooperative governing of individual health insurance coverage offered in interstate commerce." The bill was co-sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee (a hearing has not been scheduled). AUCD has just become aware of this bill and will continue to track its progress.


Last week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said there will be a vote this week on a bill to extend the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding for five years. While there is bipartisan support for reauthorization of the program, there is disagreement on how to fund it as it could result in cuts to other programs. The Senate Finance Committee, meanwhile, advanced a companion CHIP funding bill in early October. That bill, though, did not outline how it would be paid for and has not yet been passed by the full Senate.


On October 31, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing to examine implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act, focusing on achieving the promise of health information technology.

ACA Open Enrollment

The Federal Health Insurance Exchange Open Enrollment period runs from November 1, to December 15, 2017, with coverage starting on January 1, 2018. This year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking a "strategic and cost-effective approach to inform individuals about Open Enrollment". CMS continues to use consumer feedback to drive improvements.  Consumers can visit HealthCare.gov and CuidadodeSalud.gov to preview 2018 plans and prices before Open Enrollment begins. There are many key updates that include: streamlined enrollment, "help on demand", family plans, financial assistance, and more. Please also see CCD fact sheet.


The U.S. Department of Education released a notice late on Friday, Oct. 20 that it had rescinded 27 guidance documents as part of its effort to implement the President's Executive order to eliminate "duplicative and unnecessary" regulations (see Washington Post article).  The list did not state how each document was found to be no longer needed.  Last Monday, the Department posted a revised list containing a new column with justifications for each document's rescission. On Tuesday, the Department held a public phone briefing to reassure advocates and the public that the rescissions would have no policy impact.



On October 25, two AUCD network leaders testified at a Senate Committee on Aging hearing entitled "Working and Aging with Disabilities: From School to Retirement". David Mank, recently retired director of the Indiana University Center, summarized 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, shared research and expertise related to people with disabilities and aging, caregivers, and employment. The archived video and written testimony can be found on the committee website.

Home and Community Based Services

ACL Grants

Three UCEDDs - The Institute on Human Development and Disability at the University of Georgia, The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire, and Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University -  received grants to enhance HCBS systems for people with developmental disabilities. These grants, awarded as Projects of National Significance (PNS) by ACL's Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, aim to help develop and test model approaches for enhancing the quality, effectiveness, and monitoring of HCBS with a focus on "building the capacity of HCBS systems and enhancing community monitoring to prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation". You can find more information on each UCEDD project here.

State plans

On October 24, Washington state received 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 Emily Ladau (author of the blog Words I Wheel By) about dating and people with disabilities. Please also see Emily's piece in the New York Times titled Playing the Online Dating Game, in a Wheelchair. In case you missed last week, Liz interviewed Amie Lulinski, Research and Development Coordinator at the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, about the States of the States in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.





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