Stop the Automatic Cuts – Help Protect Disability Programs
Major Events Last Week
Health Care – HHS releases final rule implementing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act
Last week, the final rule was released describing essential health benefits that plans will need to cover when the health insurance exchanges begin in 2014. The law outlines 10 broad categories of care, including emergency services, maternity care, hospital and doctors’ services, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, mental health and substance abuse care and prescription drugs. The Arc and other advocates had urged HHS to better define what is included in the categories and what would be a sufficient benefit. The final rules do not vary greatly from the proposed rules and give states much flexibility in what will be covered in the 10 categories.
Medicaid – Disability Community Urges HHS to limit cost sharing in Medicaid
The Arc joined with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) to weigh in on proposed rules that address cost sharing in the Medicaid program, appeals processes, aspects of choosing the alternative benefit plan that will be offered to people who enroll in Medicaid as part of the expansion and guidance on the essential health benefits that must be included in the Medicaid alternative benefit plans. While there were numerous issues to comment on, CCD was very concerned about an issue that HHS raised that would allow cost-sharing for long term services and supports. We urged HHS to not include this language in the final rule. Read our comments at http://www.c-c-d.org/
Employment – OPM Issues Final Rule to Simplify Federal Schedule A Hiring Authority for People with Intellectual Disability, Severe Physical Disabilities, and Psychiatric Disabilities
Last week, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a final rule that simplifies the federal Schedule A hiring authority for the appointment of people with intellectual disability, severe physical disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. Schedule A is a hiring authority available to federal agencies to hire and/or to promote individuals with disabilities. Under prior regulations, a person seeking a Schedule A appointment was required not only to establish a qualifying disability, but also to submit a “certification of job readiness” by a medical professional, vocational rehabilitation specialist, or disability benefit agency. The new final OPM rule removes the requirement for a certification of job readiness. The Arc has strongly supported the elimination of this unnecessary step in the Schedule A process.
Civil Rights / ADA
H.R. 777, a bill to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has been introduced by Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA). The bill would require people with disabilities to wait for a period of time before filing a discrimination lawsuit in order to give businesses, stores, restaurants, and other public accommodation time to correct the problem. The Arc opposes this bill. The ADA was passed over 20 years ago. Businesses have had ample time to make their establishments accessible to people with disabilities.
Major Events Ahead
Budget – Across the board cuts for discretionary programs to take effect this Friday, March 1
Federal discretionary programs are scheduled to be cut by approximately 10% in the second half of 2013, unless Congress negotiates a deal to prevent the cuts. These include hundreds of programs, including many that are of great importance to the disability community, such as IDEA State Grants , State Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities and the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. The White House released a state-by-state report showing the impact of the cuts; view this chart to see how the cuts will affect your state. To date, three quarters of the enacted $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years has come from spending cuts alone. The Arc supports replacing the automatic cuts with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes revenues. See Action Alert above.
Employment – Senate to Hold Hearing on State Leadership and Innovation in Disability and Employment
On Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee (Chairman Harkin, D-IA) will hold a hearing on “State Leadership and Innovation in Disability Employment.” Witnesses will include Gov. Jack Markell, D-DE; Jane Boone, consultant, Washington State Employment Leadership Network, Seattle, WA; Mike O’Brien, executive director, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, Oklahoma City; and Don Uchida, executive director, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, Salt Lake City. Visit the Committee web site for more information and to view live video the day of the hearing.
Employment – House to Hold Hearing on TANF Work Requirements
On Thursday, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources will hold a hearing on “Waiving Work Requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program.” Visit the Committee web site for more information and to view live video the day of the hearing.
Appropriations – House Appropriations subcommittee to hold hearing of FY 2014 funding
On March 13, the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on FY 2014 funding.
For more information, see the Appropriations Committee website.
Join Us for the Disability Policy Seminar
Make your plans to attend the 2013 Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C. April 15-17. This event is the biggest and best opportunity for advocates to advance the grassroots movement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The unique platform offers you the opportunity to come together with other advocates, learn about the issues, and speak with your elected officials about what is important to you. Get the best rates and availability for the event at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Washington, D.C. when you register before March 12 and find out more about this year’s program at www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org.
Hosted by: The Arc, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), and Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)
Medicaid / Medicare / Dually Eligible – New Report Concerning Dual Eligibles
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new data report concerning individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The number of dually eligible individuals in 2011 was 10.2 million. The number of individuals under the age of 65 who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid grew more quickly than those over the age of 65, representing 41.3% of the total number of dually eligible individuals.