AUCD Legislative News In Brief

February 27, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  February 27, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 9
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Congressional Schedule
The House and Senate are both in session this week. The Senate will spend most of the week debating a bill to reauthorize funding for public transportation (see Transportation below).  A number of committees in both chambers plan to hold hearings on the President's budget for FY 2013 (see
AUCD summary of the President's budget).  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will testify before the House Ways and Means Committee on the Department's part of the budget tomorrow.  House Education and the Workforce marks up bills (HR 3989, HR 3990) that would revise parts of No Child Left Behind (see Education).

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will mark up two Republican bills to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) on Tuesday.  The Student Success Act (H.R. 3989) and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990) would dramatically limit the federal role in education by eliminating a number of requirements in NCLB, including those that have led to increased inclusion and academic gains for students with disabilities.  AUCD signed onto a letter from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities opposing both bills.  AUCD has asked its University Centers in those states represented on the Committee to send letters educating their Representatives about the impact the bills would have on students with disabilities.  You can watch the markup live on the Committee's website.

Health Care Reform
Standards for Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment
In early February, the Access Board, in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration, announced
Proposed Accessibility Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment for public comment.  Required by the Affordable Care Act, the proposed standards address access for people with disabilities to examination tables and chairs (including provisions on transfer devices such as supports rails, and lifts), weight scales, and other equipment used for purposes of medical diagnosis.  The deadline for comment submissions is June 8.  A public hearing on the standards will be held at the Access Board Conference Room in Washington, DC on March 14.  For more information, including details of the hearing and instructions on submitting comments, click here

Webinar on Dual-Eligibles
The "Friday Morning Collaborative", a coalition of national aging and disability organizations (including AUCD) working together to advance home and community-based services and supports, is sponsoring a webinar this Friday related to the topic of "dual-eligibles."  The term refers to the approximately 9 million low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities who are dually enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.  As a result of the Affordable Care Act, at least 37 states and the District of Columbia are pursuing efforts to better coordinate care and potentially lower cost for this population, including 15 states which were awarded design contracts.  Meaningful stakeholder engagement from aging and disability advocates is essential to the success of these integration efforts.  This webinar will highlight the experiences of advocates in two states that are among the first to move forward: Massachusetts and California.  Advocates will share insights, strategies and examples of their focused advocacy in such key areas as enrollment and consumer choice, network adequacy, accessibility, care coordination, oversight and monitoring, appeals and grievances, and access to home and community-based services.  Space is limited, so please
register early and share lines when possible.  The webinar will also be recorded and made available for viewing following the event.

On February 23, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the American Association of People with Disabilities held a briefing on Equity in Transportation for People with Disabilities.  The discussion focused on the history of the accessibility movement, its shortcomings in the area of transportation, paratransit and its alternatives (i.e. accessible taxis), as well as the critical role transportation plays in all aspects of an individual's life (including housing, employment, education, social activities, and healthcare).  According to the Association of Programs on Rural Independent Living, more than half a million people with disabilities never leave home because of they have no access to transportation.  To address this disconnect, the panel called for increased congressional action, including prioritizing reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs.  The current transportation law, the
Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Act  (PL 109-59, SAFETEA-LU), expires on March 31, 2012, and has been operating by way of extensions since September 2009.  This law is important to disability advocates because it also funds the New Freedom Program to support new public transportation services and alternatives beyond those required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Currently, reauthorization bills in both the Senate and House are under debate.  The panel also emphasized the need for increased oversight of ADA requirements (including Amtrak's accessibility initiative), access to private transportation alternatives to mass transit, and support of initiatives such as Easter Seals' Project ACTION that offer consumer-led training for paratransit officers and operators.

Long-Term Services & Supports: Presidential Candidate Survey
Every day, over 10 million seniors, people with disabilities, and their families struggle to find and pay for long-term services and supports, and the need for care is expected to grow to over 15 million Americans by 2020.  Yet the issue of long-term care has been completely absent from this year's presidential campaign and only two candidates-Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich- have responded to a national survey on their views to address this growing national challenge.  To help raise this critical issue among the presidential candidates, 15 national aging and disability organizations, including AUCD, invited each candidate to answer five questions about their views on long-term care.  The five questions and responses received to date are available at  

Disability Policy Seminar
The Grand Hyatt is now sold out on Wednesday night, April 25 (but available the other nights of our conference.), therefore please do not wait to book your room on line:  Also, special early registration rates end March 20.  Register now at A schedule at a glance is online to help you make your travel plans.


For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms.

For copies of this and previous issues of Legislative News In Brief please visit the Public Policy Page of the AUCD website:

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