Capitol Insider


Major Recent Events

 Employment – The Arc of the United States Provides Testimony at Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

Last Wednesday and Thursday, April 27 and 28, the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the committee), held their bi-monthly meeting in Washington DC. The committee is mandated by section 609 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by section 461 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The purpose of the committee is to prepare a report for the Secretary of Labor on: ways to increase employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities or other individuals with significant disabilities in competitive integrated employment; use of 14(c) certificates; and how to improve the oversight of such certificates. The committee’s final report is due to the Secretary of Labor in September, 2016. The Arc provided testimony at the most recent meeting, and provided The Arc’s position statement on employment for context.

Medicaid – Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Releases Final Managed Care Rule

On Monday, April 25, HHS released an advanced notice of a final rule revising Medicaid managed care regulations. The managed care rules were last updated in 2002. The intent of the re-write was to more closely align the Medicaid managed care rules with the rules governing other health insurance programs. The final rules included changes in the appeals process, the quality system, network adequacy, and a number of other changes. Many of the provisions of the rule will take effect 60 days after publication though some provisions are effective at a later date. The Arc will be reviewing the regulations and will provide additional analysis.

Rights – Social Security Announces Proposed Rule on National Instant Criminal Background Check System

In January, 2016, President Obama announced a set of “New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer.” As part of this initiative, the Administration proposed to increase mental health treatment by $500 million and to take several steps to increase reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The NICS is a federal database used to help identify people who are prohibited by law from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm. The law and regulations define who is subject to the mental health prohibition, including individuals who have been:

  • Involuntarily committed to a mental institution for reasons such as mental illness or drug use;
  • Found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity; or
  • Otherwise determined by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority to be a danger to themselves or others or unable to manage their own affairs, as a result of mental illness or “marked subnormal intelligence”.

Last Friday, April 29, the White House announced that the Social Security Administration will soon publish a proposed rule to report information to the NICS about individuals who have been found eligible for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits based on a mental impairment “listing” and who have a representative payee. This would include many beneficiaries with intellectual disability and autism who have representative payees.

The Arc is concerned about the well-being of all Americans. As an organization that protects and promotes the human rights of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD), The Arc is also concerned about the potential negative impact on people with disabilities and their families. The Arc’s concerns include the likelihood that the proposed rule, if implemented, could deter some people with mental impairments, including people with I/DD, from seeking access to Social Security and SSI disability benefits for fear of being added to the NICS or having their privacy violated. The Arc will be closely reviewing SSA’s proposed rule and submitting comments expressing our concerns.


 Autism – New Report on Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Released

The federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) released its Research Portfolio Analysis Report for 2011-2012.  The report tracks funding and trends for research-related projects by the IACC’s seven strategic objectives: screening and diagnosis, biology, risk factors, treatments and interventions, services, lifespan issues, and infrastructure and surveillance. The report found that combined federal and private investment in autism spectrum disorder research decreased from 2010 ($348.6 million) to 2011 ($299.9 million) and then increased in 2012 ($331.9 million). Proportionately, most autism research funding — 30 percent in 2012 — went toward studies focusing of the biology of the disorder, followed by research on risk factors and treatments and interventions. At the bottom end of the scale are spending on research looking at services (7%) and lifespan issues (1%) in 2012, both of which decreased from the prior year.

Prevention – Webinar on Lead Poisoning on May 3

The Coalition on Human Needs is sponsoring a webinar, Child Lead Poisoning: Preventable Harm, on Tuesday, May 3 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The lead poisoning of children and adults in Flint, Michigan has focused the nation’s attention on the increased risk for developmental delay and disability from contamination of the water supply. Lead in water affects many communities nationwide, and that lead from paint in older buildings is an even more prevalent source of child poisoning. This webinar will provide expert evidence about the consequences of lead poisoning in children, examples of work being done in Flint and Philadelphia to prevent it, and timely information about Congressional proposals to fund the solutions. Please register here.

Transportation – Department Announces Committee on Accessibility Issues

The Department of Transportation announced that it would create the Advisory Committee on Accessible Air Transportation (ACCESS Advisory Committee). The ACCESS Advisory Committee is comprised of representatives from the disability community, airline industry and other stakeholders who will negotiate and develop a proposed rule concerning accommodations for air travelers with disabilities. The issues to be addressed are inflight entertainment, accessible lavatory on new single-aisle aircraft and service animals. The Committee will meet for the next six months to see if it can come to consensus on new rules addressing these issues.

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Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)