Disability Policy News In Brief

September 3, 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)
September 3, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 34
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Congressional Recess All Month

This is the last week that your members of Congress are in their home districts!

Action Steps:

  • Thank them for being accessible and active in your districts.

Autism CARES

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. HR. 1058, which reauthorizes CARES for five years, passed the House on Wednesday July 24, 2019. S. 427 did not pass the Senate before adjourning for the August Recess. Your voices and advocacy are critical!

Action Steps:

  • Sample Tweet: #AutismCARES provides critically needed research, #LEND training, and system improvement for families with #autism and related #disabilities. (Insert Twitter Handle of your Senator), support the passage of this important legislation before it expires Sept 30! @AUCDNews
  • Use the last days of the August Recess to reach out to your Senators to make CARES a priority for when they return to DC.

Congressional Openings

There are four districts that have/will have vacancies:

  • 7th District of Wisconsin: Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) announced his plans to resign from Congress by September 23. In a statement, the fifth-term congressman said he was stepping down after learning that he and his wife were expecting a child in October who "will need even more love, time, and attention due to complications, including a heart condition." Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will have to call a special election to fill Duffy's seat. Evers' office is reviewing potential dates for an election.
  • 9th District of North Carolina: Vacant since the January 3, 2019 beginning of the term as allegations of fraud in the 2018 general election prevented the results from being certified. A special election will be held September 10, 2019.
  • 3rd District of North Carolina: Vacant upon the death of Representative Jones on February 10, 2019. A special election will be held September 10, 2019.
  • Georgia Senate seat: Sen. Johnny Isakson is resigning at the end of 2019, the Georgia Republican said in a statement. "I am leaving a job I love because my health challenges are taking their toll on me, my family and my staff," Isakson said. "My Parkinson's has been progressing, and I am continuing physical therapy to recover from a fall in July. In addition, this week I had surgery to remove a growth on my kidney." Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, will appoint a replacement for Isakson, who was elected to a third term by a wide margin. Though his term doesn't expire until 2022, the timing of Isakson's retirement means the seat will be on the ballot for 2020.
Action Steps:

  • Wisconsin and North Carolina centers have an opportunity to engage with candidates during these special elections on disability issues. Reach out to newly elected officials to share about the work of your center in your state.
Campaign 2020

As we prepare for the upcoming Democratic debate, this week we explore disability issues that you may want to learn more about, listen for when candidates are speaking, and ask questions around.

Action Steps:

  • Read AUCD's comprehensive guide here.

Deep Dive Series

With Congress on Recess, we will spend each week digging deeper into various topics that are of issue in the disability space.

Medicare for All

Congress and people running for president are talking about Medicare for All. This is a new health care idea. Right now, there are many different plans and none of them will become law because Republicans and Democrats do not agree.


Republicans and Democrats

Two groups of people that have different views on how to run the county


People who make laws for our country

Health insurance

a thing to protect you from having to spend all your money on medical care

Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS)

getting help that you want and need for as long as you need

Private insurance

paid for by the person through an employer or just by the person

Public insurance

paid for by the government

History of Medicare and Medicaid

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law Medicare and Medicaid.  Over the years, Congress has made changes to Medicare and Medicaid, so more people are able to receive health coverage. Medicare was created when people over 65 found it difficult to get health insurance. Medicaid was to provide health coverage for poor people and disabled people.

What are the GOALS of Medicare for All?

Universal coverage is the goal meaning everyone has healthcare that is affordable and accessible to all. Proposed plans should include ALL people. The current Medicare does not pay for long-term services and supports, hearing, dental, vision or foot care - Medicare for All could change that.

medicare for all rallyWhat are the COSTS?

It's important to know the costs of your health insurance. How much is your employer spending? How much is the government spending? How much are you spending? People pay money for healthcare every month. Medicare for All plans have different ways of paying for the ideas - more taxes or people might have to pay.

What are the ideas for Medicare for ALL?

The Medicare for All ideas are different. Some make big changes. Some make little changes.  Some would cover all and some will let people have Medicare and keep a private insurance. Words you might be hearing:

  • Ben is confused with all the different ways his doctor and hospital bills are paid for. He wants one way to pay for all his care. This is called a "single-payer" system when the government would be in charge of paying for all health care.
  • Dawn does not have a job, so she has no health insurance. She needs to see a doctor and wants to be able to buy health insurance that she can afford. Dawn is looking for a "public option" which would give her the choice to buy health coverage that is run by the government.
  • John needs to see a doctor and dentist every 6 months and needs daily care from a personal care assistant to get him ready for the day. John needs comprehensive coverage which means health care for whatever the person needs. Whatever care a person needs-medical, dental, mental, vision, reproductive, long-term, and more-must be covered.
  • Sara has a disability that makes her need to take medicine every day for her heart. Sara has to spend lots of her own money to buy her medicine. Her insurance company does not pay for her medicine because she has a pre-existing condition. This is a medical condition that started before a person has healthcare insurance.
Questions to Ask

Important questions to ask are: Would you eliminate Medicaid? If you would, what is the role of states in healthcare? Why would your plan be better than Medicaid is today? Will Medicare for All cover the needs of all, including people with disabilities?

Learn more about current proposals:

Kind of Plan

Bills Introduced

Medicare-for-All: a single national health insurance program for all U.S. residents:

 H.R.1384 Medicare for All Act of 2019 by Rep. Jayapal (Hearing, House Rules Committee 4/30)


 S.1129 Medicare for All Act of 2019 by Sen. Sanders

Public Plan Option, based on Medicare, offered through the ACA Marketplace:


S.3 Keeping Health Insurance Affordable Act of 2019 by Sen. Cardin

S.981 H.R. 2000 Medicare-X Choice Act of 2019 by Sen. Bennet and Sen. Kaine, S. 981 and Rep. Delgado,

The CHOICE Act by Rep. Schakowsky, H.R. 2085 and Sen. Whitehouse, S. 1033

A Medicare buy-in option for older individuals not yet eligible for the current Medicare program:


Medicare at 50 Act by Sen. Stabenow, S. 470

Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act of 2019 by Rep. Higgins, H.R. 1346

A Medicaid buy-in option that states can elect to offer to individuals through the ACA marketplace:


State Public Option Act by Sen. Schatz, S. 489 and Rep. Luján, H.R. 1277

Plan to prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person's pre-existing conditions

 S.1125 Protect Act by Sen Tillis


H.R.692 -Pre-existing Conditions Protection Act of 2019 by Rep Walden

Action Steps:

  • Share with your congressional delegation and presidential candidates what matters to you and to people with disabilities in health care proposals.  Ask that the needs of people with disabilities, including the need for elder care, long-term services and supports (LTSS), and home-and community-based services, be included in any plan they support.

Tuesday's with Liz: Meg Grigal Discusses Education for People with Disabilities

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Meg Grigal, Co-Director of Think College, about the importance of educational opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities - specifically post-secondary education.






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








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