Disability Policy News In Brief

February 19, 2018

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February 19, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 154
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Congress has extended their recess through next Sunday, February 25. This is a great opportunity to meet with your Members in your state! If you have any questions on how to schedule appointments and what you should talk about, please contact Christine Grosso.

President's Fiscal Year 2019 Budget

Analysis of Impact on People with Disabilities

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, this budget, titled "Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget," would dramatically impact Americans with disabilities, with cuts far deeper than any ever enacted. As a reminder, many of the draconian cuts proposed in the President's FY2018 budget proposal (which closely resemble FY2019) were never acted upon, and were strongly opposed by members of both parties. The passage of The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 on February 9th of this year added an additional dimension to this year's proposal by increasing defense and non-defense spending limits for both Fiscal Year 2018 and FY 2019, setting top-line spending caps well above both current-year levels and those in the president's budget. Please review this analysis of the FY2019 budget regarding its impact on people with disabilities. If you have any questions please contact Rylin Rodgers, AUCD's new Director of Public Policy.


HEA Comments

The Senate HELP Committee is working on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), with all members of the Committee, are seeking comments or suggestions for the Committee's consideration. If you are interested in letting the Committee know what is important to you about the HEA, how it impacts your life and work, or a story about a student with disabilities in higher education, please send comments to [email protected] by February 23.

HEA created the TPSID model demonstration programs as well as funding a variety of teacher preparation programs, student loans and Pell grants, and other university programs. AUCD has helped develop a sign on letter, which you can sign onto using the referenced Google form or can use to develop your own comments.

Health Care

Proposed Rule

Today, February 20, HHS issued a proposed rule that would allow insurance companies to sell short-term health care plans. These plans would be exempt from Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements, which could expose consumers to potential financial and health risks compared to the benefits of comprehensive, ACA-compliant health coverage. For example, these short-term plans could potentially not cover essential health benefits or preexisting conditions and could include limits to hospital care. The rule allows short-term plans to be sold and marketed for up to 364 days, which currently may only be sold for a coverage period of 3 months. The rule follows this year's earlier proposed rule that would allow similarly restrictive association health plans.

HHS Budget

As reported in last week's In Brief, HHS Secretary Alex Azar spoke before the Senate Finance Committee on the president's proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 (see HHS budget here). He answered questions on a range of issues including funding for Medicare and Medicaid, the opioid epidemic, community-based clinic training and autism. He also discussed the administration's approach for "lowering health care costs including prescription drugs". You can watch the hearing here.

Health Expenditures

Last week, the independent CMS Office of the Actuary released the projected national health expenditures for 2017-2026. Findings from the report included: total national health spending growth, Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance, personal healthcare spending, prescription drug spending, insured share of the population. Please note, these projections are constructed using a current-law framework and include major health provisions from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act and funding throughout the projection period for the Children's Health Insurance Program. These projections do not reflect other health provisions from the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Civil Rights

ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017

On February 16, the House of Representatives passed the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) by a vote of 225-192. This bill prevents lawsuits over architectural barriers violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) unless an individual provides "specific enough" notice and allows 120 days for a business to correct that barrier. Please use this link to see how your Representative voted on the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. This information can be used to thank your Member as well as for continuing to educate your members on the impact this bill would have on people with disabilities. Also see a statement by U.S. Senators Bob Casey, Chuck Schumer, Tammy Duckworth, Maggie Hassan, U.S. Elizabeth Warren and Chris Van Hollen, and two resources 1) a letter from 236 organizations in opposition to the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, which AUCD signed on to and 2) more information on the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. 

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!

2018 AUCD Gala

To highlight and raise the visibility of the great work being done by the AUCD network in state capitols around the country, we are inviting each center to submit a short write-up of a state policy initiative and success that your center or program has played a role in. Please use this form to help guide your submission. We ask that submissions be 500 words or less and if you have pictures to enhance your story please include them as well. Please submit your stories by Friday, February 23rd.

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, with the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act happening, we wanted to refer you back to Liz's interview with Meg Grigal, Co-Director of Think College, about the importance of educational opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, particularly in post-secondary education.


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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