AUCD Legislative News In Brief

August 16, 2010

Congressional Schedule
Congress is on recess until the week of September 13.  Now is the time to schedule time with your federal legislators to let them know how you feel about the job that they're doing - and remind them that you, one of their voting constituents, are paying close attention.  For those who have been supportive, please take the time to thank them for their hard work and remind them that you are there to help serve as a resource.  We also need to develop new champions.  Get to know all of your state representatives and senators and educate them about the AUCD network and issues important to people with disabilities.  For assistance with current legislative issues impacting people with disabilities, please explore AUCD's Action Center.

Medicaid & Education Funding
The House passed and President Obama signed into law Tuesday the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act (H.R. 1586), a $26 billion domestic spending bill to extend enhanced federal Medicaid funding for states and provide funds to avert layoffs of school and public safety employees, among others.  The measure is an extension of $87 billion in emergency Medicaid funding enacted under the Recovery Act to help states during the economic downturn.  The new law provides $16.1 billion to extend the enhanced federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for six months, phasing out those funds until their expiration. States will receive a 3.2% increase from January 2011 to March 2011, and a 1.2% increase from April 2011 to June 2011. The package was fully paid for by reductions in several programs, including SNAP - the food stamp program.  This law will help protect Medicaid programs that are essential to people with disabilities.  Without it, many states would have been forced to make drastic cuts to their programs due to struggling budgets.  You can thank members who voted for the bill by visiting AUCD's Action Center.

Autism Hearing
On August 3, the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Children's Health held a
hearing entitled, "State of Research on Potential Environmental Health Factors with Autism and Related Neurodevelopment Disorders."   Scientists and researchers from the Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Health, the MIND Institute at U.C. Davis, and Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, were among those to testify.  During the hearing, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) announced that she is introducing legislation to ensure that federal agencies are coordinating their efforts on disease clusters as effectively as possible, and that the resources are there to help the people in areas that need them. This will include making sure communities that suspect they have a cluster of disease can call on the government to investigate and address their concerns. The bill will also require EPA to upgrade their data tracking systems to strengthen the federal government's ability to investigate disease clusters. Earlier this year, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010, which would take an important step toward testing and identifying chemicals that could harm children before they come to market. The bill would reform and strengthen the way the federal government regulates toxic chemicals, by requiring the chemical industry to prove that their chemicals are safe to use.

More information and the archived hearing are available on the Committee's website.

Money Follows the Person
CMS held a teleconference on Friday for grantees interested in Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration funding during which it was announced that $200,000 planning grants are available for interested states. Through passage of the Affordable Care Act, an additional $2.25 billion is available to states for the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing (MFP) Demonstration to help balance their long-term services and supports systems. Under the MFP demonstration, states receive an enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for a one-year period for each individual they transition from an institution to a qualified home and community-based program. All states can take advantage of this opportunity. States which currently have MFP awards can work with their project officers to modify and expand their existing grants. States without current MFP awards (States listed below) are eligible to apply for
new FY11 MFP Demonstration Grants. The deadline for applications is January 7. However, states are encouraged to submit an optional letter of intent by August 25. CMS will provide extensive technical assistance to help states complete successful applications. In addition, states without current MFP grants are also eligible to apply for FY10 Planning Grants.

Health Reform
The Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO) recently released numerous regulations and requests for comment regarding implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Individuals can now submit comments.  For more information on each individual regulation listed below, click on the link or go to

 Patient's Bill of Rights (Deadline: August 27)

Coverage of Preventive Services (Deadline: September 17)

Internal Claims and Appeals and External Review Processes (Deadline: September 21)

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) (Deadline: September 28)

Planning and Establishment of State-Level Exchanges (Deadline: October 4)

Status as a Grandfathered Health Plan (Deadline: August 16) To help navigate the grandfathered plan regulations, Families USA released a piece called

Grandfathered Plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that explains the requirements health plans must meet to maintain grandfathered status and outlines which protections in the health reform law apply to such plans and which do not.

 Please visit AUCD's Health Reform Hub for information and resources on the Affordable Care Act.

AUCD staff partnered with the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute to participate in the National Council of State Legislatures Legislative Summit in Louisville, KY.  The summit attracted more than 4,500 attendees, including 713 state legislators and 398 legislative staff, and is an excellent opportunity to educate state legislators about the AUCD network and its programs.  U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave keynote speeches, and the agenda included a full day's coverage of health reform implementation.  Next year's summit will be held in San Antonio, TX.

The 2010 Reinventing Quality Conference was held last week in Baltimore, MD.  The annual conference is designed to showcase best practices in person-centered supports from across the nation and serve as the premier gathering place for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities, family members, direct support professionals, administrators of community support agencies, advocates, and government leaders committed to a vision of a better future for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities.  This year's keynote speakers included Samuel Bagenstos, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney of the U.S. Department of Justice, Barbara Coulter Edwards, Director of the Disabled and Elderly Health Program Group at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Sharon Lewis, Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.  Conference tracks included Individualized Supports, Quality Improvement, Supporting Direct Support Professionals, and Opportunity for Systems Reform.  AUCD was one of this year's conference partners.  

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.