Disability Policy News

November 9, 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)
                 November 9, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 45

list with check marksElections 2020

On Saturday, multiple news outlets projected Former Vice President Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States after he passed the threshold of 270 electoral votes. While several states continue to count up final absentee and provisional ballots, it is extremely unlikely that these final votes will alter the final outcome. At the time this was published, AP has called 290 electoral votes for Joe Biden and 214 electoral votes for President Donald J. Trump.

In the House of Representatives, Democrats have won 215 seats and Republicans have won 196 seats. Results continue to trickle in for an additional 24 House races, one of which will go to a run-off. It is expected that Democrats will maintain their house majority with at least 218 seats.

Of the 35 seats up for election in the Senate, Democrats have won 13 and Republicans have won 18. This puts the breakdown of the full Senate at 46 Democrats, 2 Independents, and 48 Republicans. Several states continue to count votes, and Georgia will have two runoff races on January 5th. It is likely the outcome of those runoffs will determine control of the Senate.

Plain language:

  • Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. He will become President on January 21st. The new 117th Congress will start meeting on January 3rd, with Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives and the Senate still undecided.

What it means to you:

  • The current, 116th Congress, continues until January 2nd. This means that when planning your Virtual Hill Day visits as part of the #AUCD2020 Conference, you will be meeting with members of this Congress, not next Congress.

Action steps:

Seal of Supreame Court  a traditional seal, which is similar to the Great Seal of the United States, but which has a single star beneath the eagle's claws— symbolizing the Constitution's creation of

U.S. Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court will hear combined oral arguments for California v. Texas and Texas v. California, both of which consider the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), on Tuesday, November 10th. The consolidated cases consider the ACA in two parts: first, whether the ACA's individual mandate, which requires everyone have a minimum level of health insurance, is constitutional; and second, if the individual mandate is decided to be unconstitutional, whether the entire ACA is therefore unconstitutional. The Supreme Court previously upheld the legality of the individual mandate in NFIB v. Sebelius in 2012, but the future of the mandate remains unclear given the Court's conservative shift in recent years with the addition of Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett. Important to note, a ruling is not expected until late Spring 2021, and the ACA will remain in effect throughout deliberations.

Plain language:

  • This week the U.S. Supreme Court will begin work on two court cases on the Affordable Care Act. They will make a decision on the cases next year that will decide if the Affordable Care Act is legal and can stay a law, or if it is illegal and must change. 

What this means to you:

  • It is very possible that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be repealed next year. Millions of people with disabilities and their families would lose health care access and protections if the ACA is taken away.
Action Steps:

  • Learn about the two cases on the Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court will hear next week:
  • Learn more about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) benefits the disability community:
  • We will be sharing ways to take action and get involved throughout this process. Continue to read Disability Policy News and check the AUCD website for updates on this case and our advocacy efforts to protect the ACA.

    CMS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ServicesCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new toolkit designed for state Medicaid agencies to strengthen their Long-term Services and Supports (LTSS) infrastructure and develop robust home- and community-based services (HCBS) for eligible beneficiaries. This toolkit is the latest in a series of CMS efforts to promote high quality, person-centered HCBS to safely transition older adults and individuals with disabilities back to their homes and communities, and decrease reliance on institutional care.

    Plain language:

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have a new tool to help states offer home- and community-based services (HCBS) options for elderly people and people with disabilities.
Action steps:

medical injection needle and calendar, black and white

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to urge all individuals over 6 months-old to receive a flu vaccine. It is more important than ever to get your flu vaccine this season because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the CDC's resources on the flu vaccine:

Plain language: 

  • The CDC wants everyone to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible to stay healthy this flu season. Staying healthy is especially important while the COVID-19 crisis continues.
What it means to you:

  • People with certain underlying health conditions are more likely to have serious complications from the flu virus. It is important that people with disabilities, their families, and those who support them get a flu shot to help keep each other healthy.

    Action steps:

    outline of a judge's gavelPublic Charge

    On November 3rd, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal government should be able to continue applying the public charge rule from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The ruling came one day after a federal district court had vacated the rule. The contentious public charge rule applies to persons seeking to immigrate to the United States who is likely to require government subsidies such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), long-term Medicaid, or housing assistance. The future of the rule remains unclear.

    Plain language:

  • The public charge rule is now being enforced again. Public charge means someone moving to the United States who would depend on the government for support. The rule allows the government to not let people from other countries who may be public charges become United States citizens.

    What it means to you:

  • The public charge rule can discriminate against people with disabilities who want to become United States citizens.
Action steps:

    AUCD Conference logo - outline of two people standing and one person in wheelchair holding up blue ball, all rainbow #AUCD2020 Conference Policy Events

    We are excited to share that AUCD is offering several ways to engage with federal policy efforts as part of this year's virtual #AUCD2020 Conference:

  • Post-Election Analysis and Discussion with AUCD: Help us kick-off our pre-conference events by joining the AUCD Policy Team as we break down the tentative results of the November 3rd elections and consider what they could mean for the disability community. Register today!
    • Date and time: Friday, November 13, 2020, 4:00 - 5:00 pm EST
    • Location: Zoom Webinar
    • ASL interpretation and real-time captions will be provided.
  • Closing Hill Plenary: Join us for a pre-recorded Closing Plenary on the final day of the Conference to hear from an array of congressional leaders and legislative champions about their disability-related priorities and policies. This year's speakers include Senator Bob Casey (Pennsylvania), Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Representative Clark (Massachusetts), and more!
    • Date and time: Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 12:00 - 1:15 pm EST
    • Location: Virtual
    • ASL interpretation and captions will be provided.
  • #AUCD2020 Virtual Hill Visits: We are pleased to share the #AUCD2020 Virtual Hill Visit Toolkit, which includes all the information you need to plan and conduct virtual Hill meetings with your representatives in Congress.
    • Note: Due to the virtual format, we will not have a single Hill Day, but rather recommend that you schedule a meeting with your representatives between November 4th, 2020 and January 3rd, 2020.
Action steps:

    Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz Weintraub

    Tuesdays With Liz

    On this week's vintage #TWL, Liz discusses the importance of using plain language to help individuals with disabilities, "feel like we all belong."


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