AUCD Legislative News In Brief

April 29, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  April 29, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 17
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Congressional Schedule

Congress is in recess this week, returning on May 6. Recess is a good time to meet with your Members while they are in their home districts/state.  This is especially true if you were not able to make it to the Disability Policy Seminar.  Members of Congress need to hear directly from their constituents the impact cuts are or will have on individuals and programs in their states.  Please feel free to use the fact sheets and presentations from the seminar for talking points.


Congress passed and the President signed a bill last week that allows the Federal Aviation Administration to shift funds from other areas to avoid furloughs for air traffic controllers resulting from sequestration cuts.  The bill passed by an overwhelming vote of 361-41 in the House and by unanimous consent in the Senate.  The question for lawmakers will be whether they seek a broad solution or take up more stand-alone measures on particular programs.  NDD United, a Coalition of over 3,000 groups, including AUCD, met with Members of Congress on Wednesday urging Members of Congress not to permit piecemeal restoration of cuts because it does not address the whole impact of sequestration.  NDD United leaders were quoted in The Hill saying "Opportunities in medical research lost, public defenders furloughed, national parks closed, lab capacity to track outbreaks diminished ... Waiting at the airport is frustrating, but food, shelter, and medication are issues of life and death."

International Civil Rights

On April 23, the National Council on Disability hosted an in-person public comment period regarding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. AUCD's Council on Community Advocacy provided comments, as did the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, United States International Council on Disability, and Disability Rights International. Copies of testimony are available on AUCD's International Civil Rights page.

AUCD State Health Reform Workgroup

In response to requests from network members, AUCD is launching a workgroup on state health reform. The goal of the workgroup is to supplement the Health Reform Hub by providing a forum for conversation and information sharing among members, supported by a listserv, SharePoint site, and monthly conference calls. As a result of technical difficulties during the first call on April 23, there will be an additional call tomorrow, April 29 at 4pm. The call will focus what workgroup members would like to get out of the group, as well as the newly announced Funding Opportunity Announcement for Navigators and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the same program. For more information, contact Dawn Rudolph.

In conjunction with this effort, AUCD is also re-energizing the Health Reform Hub. To reflect the move to state-level implementation, the Hub now includes sections on the Medicaid Expansion and Health Insurance Marketplaces. The "Dual Eligible Beneficiaries" category has been renamed Integrated Care Initiatives to better capture all efforts toward managed and integrated care, including Managed Long-Term Services and Supports. Coming soon, the Hub will have links to real-time updates of state action on the Medicaid Expansion, Marketplaces (also known as Exchanges), and demonstrations to integrate care for dually eligible beneficiaries.

Health Disparities/Cultural Competence
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in health and health care, a blueprint to help organizations improve health care quality in serving diverse communities. The enhanced standards, developed by the HHS Office of Minority Health, are a comprehensive update of the 2000 National CLAS Standards and include the expertise of federal and non-federal partners nationwide, to ensure an even stronger platform for health equity. The enhanced The new standards include a broad definition of culture in which health is recognized as being influenced by factors ranging from race and ethnicity to language, spirituality, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and geography. For more information, see the HHS website:

CMS Leadership
The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved Marilyn Tavenner's nomination to lead the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). However, Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee has lodged an objection to the vote moving to the Senate floor to bring attention to CMS' recent use of the Prevention and Public Health Fund to fund the Affordable Care Act's Exchange Navigators program.

 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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