Disability Policy News In Brief

July 16, 2018

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July 16, 2018   |   Vol. XV, Issue 170
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Budget and Appropriations

The House Appropriations Full Committee Markup of FY19 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies was held on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Adopted amendments (part 1 and part 2) and roll call votes are now posted for your reference.

  • Action Step:  Contact your Members of Congress, share that you are following the FY 19 appropriations process and that you continue to be interested in LEND, UCEDD and IDDRC appropriations.  These AUCD tools can support your messaging:
  1. AUCD Action Center to send an email (which you can personalize) to your Members of Congress advocating for LEND and/or educating about the importance of LEND as well as advocating for UCEDD and/or educating about the importance of UCEDD.
  2. Autism CARES/LEND funding talking points and UCEDD funding talking points

Health Care

ACA Navigator Program

The Trump Administration announced $25 million in cuts to the Navigator program, which helps families understand coverage by providing clear, unbiased information about insurance options, financial assistance and enrollment. The new cuts come amid concern about the heightened need to promote public awareness about short-term, low-cost plans that offer substandard coverage and are becoming more prevalent. Since 2016, funding for the Navigator program has been cut by 84%.

  • Action Step: Contact your Members of Congress to advocate for continued implementation of the ACA as intended to ensure access to care for all.
  • Action Step: Urge your state and local governments to support Navigation work that educates the public about reliable health insurance options and enrollments.

Medicaid LTSS Expenditures Webinar

On July 17, CMS Open Door Forums will host a webinar on the Early Use of Community LTSS. The Administration on Community Living (ACL) and Washington State will review findings from the Report on Long Term Services and Services and Supports Expenditures in 2016, which CMS released in May of this year. The webinar will also include a presentation by CMS on the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Report from the Field, which found that Medicaid beneficiaries who use community-based long-term services and supports had shorter stays when experiencing institutional care. The MFP Report analyzes differences in the use of institutional care for Medicaid beneficiaries generally, rather than just MFP participants.

Medicaid Ruling in Kentucky

On June 29, a federal judge blocked a Medicaid waiver rule in Kentucky that would have imposed work requirements on beneficiaries and cut up to 95,000 enrollees in the state. The decision is a victory for those opposed to work requirements that would alter Medicaid eligibility. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg held that the government "never adequately considered whether [the Medicaid waiver] would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens," which is a key goal of Medicaid itself. Advocates hope that the ruling will act as an encouraging precedent in future anti-waiver cases, and that the judge's reasoning can be used to support arguments that waivers such as the one in Kentucky undermine Medicaid and access to healthcare, rather than improve it. The ruling may also inform strategic decisions made by policymakers in other states who are trying to develop their own waivers.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) criticized the ruling and responded by canceling dental and vision coverage for almost 500,000 enrollees in Medicaid expansion. CMS also expressed disappointment at the judge's decision and indicated that it will appeal. The full ruling can be read here.

  • Action Step: Reach out to your Governor and state legislators to advocate that work requirements not be a part of waiver applications in your state.

Civil Rights

Supreme Court Nomination

On July 9, President Trump announced that he will nominate Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kavanaugh is currently a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and previously served as White House Staff Secretary under President George W. Bush.  If confirmed, Kavanaugh will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement at the end of the Supreme Court's recent term. Kavanaugh's appointment would mark a significant shift in the ideological direction of the Court, likely resulting in far more conservative rulings on many critical issues in the future.

AUCD and other disability and civil rights organization are closely examining Kavanaugh's judicial record, including his opinion in Hester v. District of Columbia (2007), a case in which a three-judge panel decided against a student who sought compensatory special education services from D.C. Public Schools corresponding to time he spent incarcerated in Maryland. The decision overturned a previous ruling in favor of the student. More on Judge Kavanaugh's health-related opinions can be found here.  

Kavanaugh's individual interviews with senators have already begun, although committee hearings have not yet been scheduled. AUCD will continue to share information as the nomination progresses.

  • Action Step: Contact your Senators and ask them to include questions about disability rights in their individual interviews and committee hearings with Judge Kavanaugh. AUCD will be recommending questions on disability policy for Senators to consider.


Significant Disproportionality

The Council Of Parent Attorneys and Advocates Inc. filed a 38-page federal complaint against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on July 12 for delaying by two years the deadline for states to comply with the "Equity in IDEA" or "significant disproportionality" regulations,  regulations intended to support black and Hispanic children with disabilities.

  • Action Step: Despite the Department of Education extending the deadline for compliance, states have the option to move forward. Reach out to the Department of Education and Governor in your state and share the importance of moving forward. If you submitted public comment on the rule, you can share the comments with leaders in your state to advocate for their leadership.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In this week's Tuesdays with Liz, Liz discusses the importance of voting for all Americans, especially people with disabilities. Liz introduces AUCD's new Voting Tool Guide, which can be found at here.

To find your local UCEDD, visit our UCEDD directory at https://bit.ly/2NRC7cg.

While some states require an ID to register to vote, not all do. All states do require proof-of-residence, such as an ID, a bank statement, or other government-issued identifying document with your name and Registered Address on it. Check your state voting law to know which documentation you need. You can find out how to register in your state at https://vote.gov/. You can check deadlines for registering to vote at https://bit.ly/1FpLRUI.  

Not all states require an ID to vote. Visit https://bit.ly/18Szn2n and scroll down to 'Voter Identification Laws in Effect in 2018' to see a map showing what type of ID, if any, is required in each state. 


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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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