AUCD Legislative News In Brief

August 30, 2010

Congressional Schedule
Congress is on recess until the week of September 13.  Now is the time to schedule time with your federal legislators; let them know how they are doing, thank those who are supportive for their work and remind them that you can serve as a resource.  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.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provided states with guidance and sample forms to request the temporary federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) funds recently approved by Congress.  States must submit a request by September 24 to receive the additional funding for the January 1 through June 30, 2011 period. 

Americans with Disabilities Act
Last week, Ranking Senate HELP Committee Member Mike Enzi (R-WY), published an updated version of his Accessibility Manual entitled
Guidelines for Assisting Those with Accessibility Needs, in recognition of the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The revised and improved manual provides Senate offices and constituents with comprehensive and valuable information on accessibility throughout the U.S. Capitol Complex.  Senator Enzi and his staff thanked AUCD in the manual along with other disability advocacy organizations for providing information and helpful insight for the original 2008 edition. 

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan kicked off a Back-to-School bus tour themed "Courage in the Classroom: Honoring America's Teachers."  Covering eight states and 800 miles, Duncan will visit schools that are facing challenges and demonstrating success to talk with teachers about how the federal government can support educators. For more information and the tour schedule, visit the blog. AUCD encourages advocates to participate in the tour and address disability-specific issues such as inclusion, special education teacher training and restraint and seclusion.

Health Reform
AUCD signed on to
comments developed by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Health Task Force in response to interim final rules issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury.  The rules implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act regarding preexisting condition exclusions, lifetime and annual limits, rescissions, and patient protections.  In its comments, the task force suggests ways to clarify and strengthen the law's provisions to ensure robust protection for people with disabilities.

Two new health reform tutorials that explain the Affordable Care Act are now available from  Health Reform: How Will Medicaid Change? is a narrated slide tutorial that reviews the basics of the Medicaid program and explains the program's coverage goals under the new health reform law. The tutorial covers the expansion of the Medicaid program, new eligibility criteria, and the enhanced federal funding for newly eligible individuals.  Provisions in the new law regarding Medicaid benefits, payments, dual eligibles, and long-term care are also addressed. Health Reform: A Retrospective is another slide tutorial that provides a step-by-step review of the Affordable Care Act's legislative process from the President's budget proposal through the signing of the bill into law.

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

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.