Disability Policy News In Brief

February 26, 2018

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February 26, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 150
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Congress returns this week following their Presidents day recess.  If you connected with your members during the break be sure the follow up and thank them for their time.

Budget & Appropriations

On February 12, the President released his budget proposal to Congress for Fiscal Year 2019, which will cover October 1, 2018-September 30, 2019 (FY19). The entire budget can be found on the White House homepage.  In general, President Trump's budget, titled "Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget," would dramatically impact Americans with disabilities, with cuts far deeper than any ever enacted. The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) examines the budget's cuts to the national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs (UCEDD, LEND, IDDRC), key disability programs, research, and a broad set of public services critical to the lives of people with disabilities.

The next step following the release of the President's Budget is for the Congress to enact 12 annual appropriations bills within the limits of the Budget Act passed on February 9th by the October 1 start of the new fiscal year. While many Members of Congress have expressed concern about the deep cuts in the President's request, Congress has already taken steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to cut and cap Medicaid. Therefore, advocates must work hard to educate Members of Congress about the importance of many of these programs; including UCEDDs, LENDs, IDDRCs, Medicaid, Social Security, and more. For more information on this, please contact AUCDs Director of Public Policy, Rylin Rodgers.

Health Care

Strengthening Long-Term Services and Supports: Reform Strategies for States

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) is hosting a webinar to discuss policy strategies, operational steps, and federal and state authorities that leading states have used to increase access to community-based care and improve integration of LTSS with other Medicaid and Medicare-covered services. This webinar will also highlight opportunities and challenges that states faced in pursuing different reforms to help guide policymakers that are seeking to improve care delivery, person-centeredness, and cost-effectiveness of Medicaid LTSS. This webinar will take place on March 6, from 2:00 - 3:00 pm ET. Click here for more information.

Short-term Insurance Proposed Rule

Last week, a proposed rule was released on "Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance", which builds on the President's October 2017 Executive Order (EO) 13813 - "Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States". This EO directs consideration of proposing regulations or revising guidance to expand the availability of short-term, limited-duration insurance and allow it to cover longer periods. AUCD is concerned with these measures as these plans may waive many of the consumer protections required by the Affordable Care Act. Public comment period for this proposed rule is open until 5pm EST on April 23, 2018. For more information on this, please contact AUCDs Director of Public Policy, Rylin Rodgers.

Opioid Bills

On February 22, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee unveiled eight bills it will examine during the February 28 hearing on "enforcement-related measures to help combat the opioid crisis". Specifically, the hearing will delve into how to help communities balance enforcement with patient safety; it's the first of three hearings the panel will convene on opioid legislation. Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) hopes for legislation to pass the House by Memorial Day weekend in an effort to staunch the opioid epidemic. The policies lawmakers will examine include updating scheduling guidelines to help clamp down on powerful synthetic opioids, letting hospice workers dispose of unused opioids, expanding access to behavioral health telemedicine in rural areas, making it harder to traffic synthetic drugs, and more.

Hearing - Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

On March 1, the House Constitution and Civil Justice subcommittee (part of the House Judiciary Committee) will hold a hearing on "Examining Class Action Lawsuits Against Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities". Witnesses have not been announced.

Money Follows the Person (MFP)

Sources indicate that Representatives Guthrie and Dingell will be introducing a bipartisan MFP reauthorization bill when Congress is back in session next week. We applaud all advocates for their continued engagement around this important program. Continuing to educate your Members of Congress on the positive impact this program has had on the lives of people with disabilities is crucial these next two weeks. It is AUCDs hope that MFP will be included in the March 23 omnibus appropriations package. Please stayed tuned for MFP days of advocacy the week of March 5 (similar to the three days of advocacy earlier this month). For more information on this, please contact Christine Grosso. Also see Tuesday's with Liz section below.

Immigrants and Refugees with Disabilities

AUCD signed onto a letter lead by the National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities emphasizing the importance and need for immigrations polices that do not discriminate against immigrants based on education, class, sexuality, race, ethnicity and disability status, and enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act throughout all systems related to the immigration process (e.g. attorneys' office, courts, ICE facilities).

2018 Disability Policy Seminar

Please remember to register for the Disability Policy Seminar (DPS) and the  AUCD Trainee Summit, which will take place on Sunday, April 22! DPS is a great opportunity to learn about disability policy, advance the grassroots movement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, advocate for access to health care, community living supports and civil rights, share your story with Members of Congress, and more.

Also remember to schedule meetings with your Senators and Representatives before you come to DC (tips sheets on how to do this will be shared soon).

Please save the date: Trainee orientation webinar - April 2nd at 3:30-4:30pm EST - which will highlight what you can expect, how you should prepare, and an opportunity to ask questions!

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

The Tuesdays with Liz series is taking a break while Liz Weintraub is on detail working with the Senate Aging Committee. Tuesdays with Liz will return to a regular taping schedule and new episodes will air in the late Spring when Liz returns to AUCD. Until then, we will be highlighting some of our favorite Tuesdays with Liz episodes from this past year here and on social media at @AUCDnews.

This week, we wanted to refer you back to Liz's interview with Joe Caldwell who spoke about the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program and the positive impact it has on people with disabilities.




For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

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

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