AUCD Legislative News InBrief

February 20, 2008

Congressional Schedule
Congress is on recess this week for Presidents' Day and will reconvene on February 25.

The Senate approved an amendment to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (S.1200) that would impose a one year moratorium on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) case management interim final rule. The final rule is expected to be released on March 3. It is uncertain whether the vehicle of the Indian Health Care Act will be timely enough. Action is still needed in the House. Also, the Bush Administration has issued a veto threat. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently issued a brief that provides an overview of the various Medicaid regulations that Administration has taken action on during the last year:

The Bush Administration sent a Medicare proposal to Congress last week that would make significant changes in Medicare. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Leavitt said the bill is intended to "lay out a foundation for transforming Medicare." Leavitt said the measure should be enacted in conjunction with the administration's FY09 budget proposal that cuts Medicare by $178 billion over five years. The action was triggered by a provision included in the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 that requires the President and Congress to respond when general revue funds are projected to pay for 45% or more of total Medicare costs for two consecutive years. The Administration's proposal includes requiring means testing for the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, the development of health information technology for electronic medical records and e-prescribing, pricing and service quality transparency, patient access to provider information and access to Health Savings Accounts and the medical malpractice provision the Administration has offered for the past several years. The proposal did not include reductions in overpayments to Medicare Advantage (managed care) plans. Democratic leadership has sought to obtain savings in Medicare Advantage plans but the Administration is strongly opposed. Congress will likely consider a Medicare bill in April or May of this year, primarily to address a 10% physicians' fee cut that is scheduled to go into effect June 30. A moratorium on Medicaid rehabilitation and school-based regulations is also set to expire on June 30 and the Medicare bill could provide a vehicle to extend this moratorium.

ADA Restoration Act
Members of CCD met with officials from the Department of Justice to discuss a recent letter to Congress that strongly opposed the ADA Restoration Act. While acknowledging the ADA needed improvement, the Department of Justice expressed concern that it would "dramatically increase unnecessary litigation, dramatically increase unnecessary litigation, create uncertainty in the workplace, and upset the balance struck by Congress in adopting the ADA."

Disability Policy Seminar
The deadline for early registration for the Disability Policy Seminar has passed but you can still register for this event, co-sponsored by AUCD, The Arc, UCP, AAIDD and NACDD. The seminar takes place March 2-4 in Washington, DC. Hill staff and policy experts will discuss a wide range of legislative proposals and outlook for the Second Session of the 110th Congress. The AUCD Legislative Affairs Committee will meet at the seminar on Sunday at noon. A special Trainee reception is scheduled for Sunday evening from 6:30 -8:00PM. If you are planning on attending, please work with others in your state to schedule appointments with members of Congress for Tuesday, March 4. The AUCD Action Center can be used to obtain a list of members from your state and their contact information to call and make an appointment: By clicking on each member of Congress you can also find out what committees they serve on and see if they have co-sponsored important legislation that AUCD tracks and supports. More information on registration and the seminar, including a list of other participants attending from your state, is on the AUCD website at: