Disability Policy News In Brief

May 27, 2019

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
May 27, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 20
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Congressional Recess

All members of Congress are in their home communities as part of the District Work Period (May 24-31). This is not a vacation; members will be in their home districts to connect with constituents like you. This is an important time to advocate locally on the issues you care about most.

Action Steps:

  • Use this Congressional recess to connect with your member of Congress face-to-face
  • Ask for a constituent meeting 
  • Attend a public event

Autism CARES 2019  

The Autism CARES Act - which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families - will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced and need co-sponsors (HR. 1058, S. 427). Currently 22 Senators and 98 Representatives have joined as co-sponsors.  Maine is now the first state with its entire Congressional delegation as co-sponsors. 

Action Steps:

  • Contact your Congressional delegation and make sure they are engaged in the reauthorization. 
  • Check the House List and if your Representative has not yet co-sponsored call them and ask them to do so. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121; (voice) 202 224-3091 (TTY)

Sample Script: "I am [Name] from [State]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to support and co-sponsor H.R: 1058."

  • Check the Senate List and if one or both of your Senators has not yet co-sponsored call them and ask them to do so. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121; (voice) 202 224-3091 (TTY)

Sample Script: "I am [Name] from [City]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to support and co-sponsor S.427"

If you are in Maine or in a district where you members are already co-sponsors, educate members of your social circle who live in other areas and ask them to call.  Your story and ask can help others become engaged. 

Prescription Drug Costs

The House passed the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act (H.R. 987) by a 234-183 vote. The bill stops practices that delay the availability of generic drugs, restores funding for navigators and enrollment, provides funding for states to establish their own state-based exchanges and resets short-term plans as only three-month options. 

Learn more:

 Action Step:

Surprise Medical Bills

A bipartisan Senate working group released the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act (S.1531). Similar draft legislation is underway from members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Both efforts seek ways to shield patients from unexpected medical costs. 

Action Step:

  • Share your experience and needs around unexpected and delayed medical bills with your Congressional delegation.

Federal Poverty Line

On May 6, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a notice requesting comments on changing the methodology for updating the federal poverty line. Each year the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) puts out poverty guidelines, which are the basis for program eligibility and/or benefits in many health care, nutrition, and other basic assistance programs. The proposed change would lower the income-eligibility cutoffs for assistance programs, cutting or eliminating assistance to some individuals and families. 

Action Steps:

  • Comments are due June 21 and can be submitted here

Talking points:

  • The current poverty line falls short of what people need to make ends meet
  • Share the potential impact on programs and people
  • Discuss the need for research to understand how changes will impact communities directly and indirectly 
  • AUCD tips for submitting comments 

Disasters

New resources are available related to inclusive disaster policy.

  • The National Council on Disability  has issued a report examining occurrences of institutionalization of people with disabilities, as well as threats of institutionalization that were thwarted, in 2017 and 2018, during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence, and Michael, and by the California wildfires.
  • The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies has launched a new website focused on pending legislation to address disaster-related needs for people with disabilities, including the Real Emergency Access for Aging and Disability Inclusion in Disasters Act (REAADI) and the Disaster Relief Medicaid Act (DRM).

 

Tuesdays with Liz: 'Mondays with Martha' Crossover Special

Liz is joined by Martha of 'Mondays with Martha' (https://youtu.be/Iv-3Jm6y85A) in this crossover episode. They chat about why they each started web series and encourage YOU to share your story.

https://youtu.be/OCcg9HO9uSc

 

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

 
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