Disability Policy News

February 3, 2020

Disability Policy News logo, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Disability Policy News logo, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
                February 3, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 5

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services CMS logo


Last week, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma announced plans for a new opportunity for states to seek waivers to receive defined payment for adults covered by the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion under a new proposal called "The Healthy Adult Opportunity." This is another attempt to convert Medicaid to block grants. The plan is expected to face immediate legal challenges.

Plain Language:

  • The federal government is giving states a chance to change how Medicaid is paid for. There will be fighting over this.

What this means to you:

  • The waivers would directly hurt people with Medicaid by taking away coverage and access to needed care by cutting federal funding. People with disabilities, children, and older adults will be affected.  

Action Steps:

  • Read CMS' Healthy Adult Opportunity Fact Sheet.
  • Read AUCD's Policy Talk Blog in response to this announcement.
  • Contact your state legislature, state Medicaid Directors, and Governors to share your concern on the impact this would have on people's to access healthcare.

The Supreme Court of the United States Seal

Public Charge

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to lift a nationwide injunction imposed by a federal judge in New York, halting the implementation of the public charge rule while the case is playing out in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The Trump administration can move forward with this rule to make it harder for immigrants who rely on public assistance to gain legal status while a court challenge plays out.

Plain language:

  • The public charge rule can happen. Public charge means someone who would depend on the government for support. The new rule would stop some of those people from getting benefits.

What this means to you:

  • Allowing the rule to start while it is challenged in court will lead to confusion and uncertainty in the immigration system.

Action Steps:

checklistCampaign 2020

Last week, John Delaney, Democratic former MD Representative, dropped out of the race for president. Today is the Iowa Caucus, which kicks off the presidential primary season and is a strong indicator for how candidates will do later in the campaign. Presidential candidates have been releasing various policy plans that impact the disability community. Some have specific disability plans, while others have disability embedded throughout other plans. Stay informed with each. What's in it? What's not? What could this mean to you?

Democratic Candidates:

Republican Candidates:

Thirty-six (36) of 100 Senate seats are up in 2020 - a mix of standard cycles and special elections. All House of Representatives seats are up, with at least 36 members not seeking reelection. Now is the time to get ready to vote! Here are things to do:  

Plain Language:

  • Make sure you can vote in this year's election and get ready for it.

What this means to you:

  • The power of the disability vote is HUGE and your voice and vote will make an impact.

Action steps: 

map of USCensus 2020

The United States Census Bureau kicked off the 2020 Census last week with the first count in Toksook Bay, Alaska. Every ten years, the Census Bureau is mandated by the Constitution to count every person living in the US, including the five US territories.

Plain Language:

  • The Census is a way to count every person living the United States and is used to make choices about our government.

What this means to you:

  • Participation in the 2020 Census is important. Data or information about people collected will influence community funding and Congressional representation for the next decade and will inform federal funds for things like transportation, education, Medicare, and Medicaid. Data from the 2020 Census and other surveys done by the Census Bureau are also used in many NIDILRR-funded studies to understand the disability community.

Actions Steps:

  • Respond to the Census! Use our friends at NDRN's  and the Arc's resources.

seal of the President of the United StatesPresident's Administration

On Tuesday, February 4, President Trump will deliver the State of the Union address. The annual speech by the president is delivered to a joint session of Congress, providing an update, as stated in the Constitution, on the country's current political and economic status. You can watch live coverage.

moneyBudget and Appropriations

Next week, it is expected that President Trump will release his Fiscal Year (FY) 21 budget proposal. The proposal lays out the Administration's policy agenda and vision. AUCD is beginning FY21 appropriation requests.

Plain Language:

  • The president will share his budget for the government.

What this means to you:

  • Many programs that impact the disability community and your centers receive federal funding impacted by the President's budget and priorities.

Action Steps:

DPSDisability Policy Seminar

Registration is now open for the Disability Policy Seminar and the AUCD Emerging Leaders Policy Forum.  Learn more information about the events.

You do need to register for both events if you plan to attend the Sunday AUCD Policy Forum before DPS.

AUCD Policy Talklogo of AUCD Policy Talk

With Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' new #Medicaid block grant announcement, hear from Rylin Rodgers, Director of Public Policy at AUCD, on why we should worry and what we can do at #AUCDPolicyTalk. #CripTheVote

Action Steps:

AUCD logoLove Policy? We do too!

Check out AUCD's new policy resource, a one-page fact sheet to help explain AUCD's policy efforts, and engage with us today!


image of person writing. Text: Fellowship

Applications are open for the full year (June 2020-May 2021) AUCD Disability Policy Fellowship. Persons with disabilities or family members, and persons from culturally diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz Weintraub Tuesdays With Liz

Meet AUCD's Acting Executive Director, John Tschida! John is leading AUCD as we search for a new permanent executive director.



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