AUCD Legislative News In Brief

June 7, 2010

Congressional Schedule
Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess this week. At the top of their list of priorities is finishing work on the so-called "tax extenders" legislation (see Medicaid below).  The House passed its version last month, and the Senate will take up its version of the bill this week.

The House approved its version of the tax extenders bill (HR 4213) by a vote of 215 to 204 just before leaving for a week-long recess.  Its bill included a fix to avoid scheduled cuts to doctors under Medicare, but two important provisions were stripped from the bill in an effort to garner enough votes for passage: an extension for a federal COBRA subsidy for unemployed workers, and the six-month extension of the temporary boost in federal matching funds for Medicaid (referred to as the FMAP).  The provisions were removed because of their cost and projected contribution to the deficit.  Without the enhanced FMAP extension, many states will be forced to make drastic cuts to their Medicaid programs.  The Senate is expected to take up the measure soon, and will probably make a number of changes.  Visit AUCD's
Action Center to contact your Senators on this issue.

Toxic Chemicals
AUCD, along with more than 60 national and state organizations, signed on to a letter urging Congressional leaders to strengthen the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to protect children from chemical and environmental threats.  Recommendations for reform include requiring warnings on all chemicals regarding their potential hazards, exposures and uses; creation of a new, periodic review process rather than one-time approval; and strengthening enforcement provisions.

Affordable Health Care Act Information

AUCD Legislative Affairs staff have prepared three summaries of areas of the health reform law that are particularly pertinent to AUCD network programs:
long-term services and supports, prevention and wellness and workforce provisions.

Health Care Webinar Series
AUCD is also putting together a series of Webinars on the Affordable Care Act over the next few weeks.  The first in the series will be on Market Reforms and Long Term Care, July 16 at 4 p.m. ET with Kim Musheno of AUCD and Marty Ford of The Arc/UCP.  Watch for an announcement with call-in information coming soon.

Early Childhood/Home Visiting
Included in the new health care law is a provision for the creation of a program to fund evidence-based home visitation services to improve outcomes for children and families who reside in at risk communities.  Children with developmental disabilities are identified in the law as an at-risk population.  The goal of these efforts is to promote early childhood health and development, prevent abuse and neglect and, ultimately, to improve outcomes and opportunities for children and families.  HRSA and ACF will develop evidence-based criteria for identifying home visiting models that have been demonstrated to improve outcomes for families.  There are $100 million available in the current fiscal year for this program.  The program models States choose to implement must also be linked to benchmark areas of improvement at the State level.  HRSA and ACF sent a preliminary announcement.

Caregiver Grants
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced the availability of $60 million for grants to help individuals and their caregivers better understand and navigate their health and long-term care options. AoA and CMS will administer the funding to states and communities through separate announcements, but will coordinate implementation and monitoring through a single process.  

State Information
The Kaiser Family Foundation's State Health Facts page ( has been updated to include new user-friendly tools. The website provides state-by-state and national data on more than 700 demographic, health, and health policy topics, and allows users to make customized comparisons of health data between states or the nation as a whole.

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