AUCD Legislative News In Brief

July 12, 2010

The House Labor-HHS-ED Appropriations subcommittee is scheduled to mark up the FY 2011 Labor-HHS Appropriations-ED bill Wednesday.  The full appropriations committee expects to mark up next week.  The Senate has not yet scheduled a markup for the bill.

Supplemental Spending and Education
It is not clear when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will find time to take up the House version of the war supplemental spending bill which includes $10 billion to prevent the loss of 138,000 education jobs nationwide.  The $22.8 billion in total new funding for domestic programs may be difficult to pass in the Senate.  To offset the cost of the education funds, the bill would cut about $800 million in funds for President Obama's new "Race to the Top" initiative, a provision that has drawn criticism from the White House and some education groups, who do not want to see such education reforms cut.

Medicare & Medicaid
President Obama appointed Dr. Donald M. Berwick, a pediatrician and professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, to run the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  According to a White House statement, President Obama decided to act without Congress and appoint Dr. Berwick because of the necessity to begin carrying out the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  As a recess appointee, Dr. Berwick will have all the powers of a permanent appointee.  However, under the Constitution, his appointment will expire at the end of the next session of Congress, in late 2011.

Health Reform
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the DHHS Secretary's Office on Disability will hold a conference call on "The Public Voice and Health Care Reform".  This special call is designed to help advocates and beneficiaries understand the public policy making process and how they can make sure their voices are heard.  Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of Department of Health and Human Services policymakers about opportunities for public input on provisions of health care reform.  For call-in information, visit AUCD's event page.

On July 29, the Access Board will hold a public meeting on new accessibility standards to be developed for medical diagnostic equipment.  The Affordable Care Act calls upon the Board to issue these standards in two years in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration.  For more information on the hearing or this rulemaking, visit the medical diagnostic equipment homepage. 

AUCD completed its series of webinars on the Affordable Care Act with a presentation on its workforce provisions.  All four of the webinars in the series are archived on AUCD's Health Reform HUB:

AUCD signed on to a letter to the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission urging the commission to ensure that final regulations implementing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) are strong and consistent with the law's purpose and intent, especially in light of provisions in the Affordable Care Act allowing employers who sponsor wellness programs to vary health insurance premiums.  GINA protects against discrimination based on genetic information with regard to employers and issuers of insurance. 

AUCD Policy Fellowship
Applications for AUCD's 2010-2011 policy fellowship are due on September 30. The overall purpose of the Fellowship is to offer a current UCEDD/LEND/IDDRC employee significant experience in national-level activities related to policy and legislative development, advocacy, program development, technical assistance, and association administration.  Please Visit our fellowship page for more information and to apply.