AUCD Legislative News In Brief

September 9, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  September 9, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 36
Subscribe to AUCD InBrief  |  AUCD InBrief Archive  | RSS  |  AUCD InBrief Archive

Congressional Schedule

Congress returns today from its month-long recess to a pressure-filled agenda.  With only nine legislative days until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, Congress faces a long list of tasks that includes passing necessary legislation to continue funding the federal government and raising the debt ceiling to avoid defaulting on government obligations.  This week, the Congress will be focused on votes on whether to authorize a military strike on Syria.

Budget and Appropriations

With the House likely to take up a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running past Sept. 30, health reform opponents are stepping up efforts to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act through the appropriations process. Groups including the Tea Party Patriots, Heritage Action for America and FreedomWorks will rally Tuesday outside the Capitol to push to "exempt America from Obamacare." (See also ACA Countdown below.) Meanwhile, several Senior Democratic appropriators called on Republican leaders on Friday to bring forward the draft Labor-HHS-Education bill, the bill that funds the ACA soon. Unfortunately, it still appears unlikely that any individual appropriations bills will be moved separately.  As happened last year, the L-HHS-ED bill, will likely end up in a package of funding bills or another year-long CR.  AUCD is closely monitoring the budget and appropriations negotiations.


Last month the Department of Education issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend current regulations to no longer authorize a State, in satisfying ESEA accountability requirements, to define modified academic achievement standards and develop alternate assessments based on those modified academic achievement standards, commonly referred to as the 2% Rule (see last week's In Brief). Today, the Huffington Post published an editorial by three special education experts that explains the issue with links to more information.  Comments are due by October 7.

Disability Treaty

Last week, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) International Task Force released a new report, Neglected and Abused Abroad:A Look at the Severe Mistreatment of Individuals with Disabilities Around the World and How the U.S. Can Help. The report highlights examples of human rights abuses around the world and explains how, through cooperative assistance among nations, diplomatic pressure as necessary, and public exposure of abuses if required, that rights under the CRPD can be realized. (See also CCD press release and AUCD press release).  AUCD continues to encourage grassroots action related to the CRPD on Facebook and Twitter. 

ACA: Countdown to Open Enrollment

Days until open enrollment: 22

The House Committee on Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health sent letters to 51 of the 104 organizations awarded grants to serve as Health Insurance Navigators. The letters request that the entities schedule a briefing with the committee and provide written information about the grants by September 13. By that date, grantees must provide information on the work they will perform, the number of employees or volunteers they will have, how much employees will be paid, how employees and volunteers will be trained, detailed budget documents, documentation of monitoring and supervisory procedures, descriptions of safeguards for consumers' personal information, documentation of any interactions with health insurance companies or health care providers, and documentation of all communications with any entity related to the Navigator grant. Secretary Sebelius, the committee minority, and Navigator grantees have criticized the request as too onerous as the grantees prepare for open enrollment, but the committee majority has said that they are concerned about the access that Navigators will have to consumers' personal information. At least four AUCD members in Georgia, West Virginia, North Dakota, and Arkansas have been awarded Navigator grants in states with Federally-Facilitated and State-Partnership Marketplaces.

Many states have also created state-specific standards for the Navigators. Some regulations are in keeping with insurance regulation in the state, while others are aimed specifically at Navigators and other Affordable Care Act programs. In Ohio, navigators are barred from comparing and contrasting plans for consumers. In Missouri, navigators are required to immediately cease contact with a consumer if they learn that the consumer has at any point talked to a professional broker or agent. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the majority of Americans still do not know how the ACA will affect them and need trusted information sources. New York Times Editorial Board has written twice in the past week on the need for navigation services to help people learn the basic facts of the law and the number of people who will remain uninsured in states that will not cooperate with the federal government on the law.

The health care law is already making a positive difference in the lives of millions of Americans, including people with disabilities. Since the law passed, 3.1 million young adults have gained insurance through their parents' plans. 105 million Americans have had lifetime limits removed from their insurance coverage. 6.1 million people with Medicare received $5.7 billion in prescription drug discounts through 2012, and $2.1 billion was returned to consumers in 2011because their health plans did not spend at least 80% of premium dollars on care or quality improvements.  AUCD is committed to helping to educate its members and the public about the facts related to health care reforms. See AUCD's Health Hub for more information.


Secretary Perez Sworn In

On September 4, new Secretary of Labor Tom Perez was sworn into office by Vice President Biden. AUCD Executive Director George Jesien attended the ceremony, where the Secretary spoke about the Department of Labor as the "Department of Opportunity" and twice mentioned equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Perez was confirmed by the Senate on July 18. He most recently served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, where he was a champion for disability rights on issues of Olmstead implementation, ADA compliance, and integrated employment. Prior to joining the DOJ, Mr. Perez served as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. AUCD and the disability community applaud his confirmation as Secretary of Labor. Visit the Department of Labor website for a slideshow, video of the ceremony, and text of the Secretary's remarks.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Online Dialogue

The Office of Disability Employment Policy will host a two day online dialogue September 9-10 called "Employers: What Can We Do? Join the Conversation for Change". The goal of the dialogue is to better understand employers' needs and determine how ODEP can better assist employers in hiring people with disabilities. Register for the dialogue here.


The Department of Transportation (DOT), in developing its strategic plan for FY2014-2018, is seeking public input on the Department's role in improving the nation's transportation system. Individuals and organizations can participate until September 10 in the national online dialogue. AUCD's Council on Community Advocacy (COCA) has participated in the dialogue, suggesting that DOT explore and determine the feasibility of a universal paratransit identification card so people with disabilities can access paratransit services outside of their home jurisdictions. Voting on ideas and suggestions is open until tomorrow at


For more policy news, follow Kim and Rachel on Twitter at @kmusheno and @racheljpat

 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:

AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910