Letter to Rep. Session Regarding Family Opportunity Act and Money Follows the Person Demonstration

June 14, 2004

Dear Representative Sessions,

On behalf of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), a network of interdisciplinary Centers advancing policy and practices for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, I want to thank you for your leadership and considerable efforts to move the Family Opportunity Act (FOA, H.R. 1811). While we are excited at the possible passage of the bill, AUCD cannot support the bill with offsets from other important Medicaid programs. In choosing to reduce the match rate for targeted case management to pay for the FOA, you will be taking away important services for adults with mental retardation, pregnant women, people with mental illnesses, and other disabilities. Also, states that choose not to provide benefits under the Family Opportunity Act will lose important Medicaid funds.

As you know, there is unspent money in the 2004 reserve budget fund that would pay for FOA. The Senate recently passed their version of the FOA (S. 622) without any offsets. If the budget reserve is used, no offsets will be required. By requiring a Medicaid offset, critical supports and services of one group of people would be significantly reduced to help another.

AUCD also strongly supports the Administration's New Freedom Initiatives Medicaid Demonstrations Act. AUCD would appreciate an opportunity to discuss the draft legislation with you and to have the opportunity to strengthen the language before passage. AUCD supports passage of the NFI Medicaid Demonstrations Act with minor improvements.

AUCD urges you to consider passing the Family Opportunity Act without cuts to other programs that affect people with developmental disabilities and other vulnerable populations.

Thank you again for your efforts to move the Family Opportunity Act and the NFI Medicaid Demonstrations Act. We look forward to working with you to move these two very important pieces of legislation in the 108th Congress.


David Johnson

CC: Hon. Joe Barton
Hon. John Dingell
Hon. Charles Grassley
Hon. Edward M. Kennedy