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Capitol Insider
for the Week of May 20, 2013 
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Action Alerts

We need your help to improve health care for immigrants with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Major Events Last Week

Employment / ADA – Update on Henry’s Turkey Farm Case

Due to a provision in federal law, the $240 million jury award for employment discrimination and harassment that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) won for 32 men with intellectual disability may have to be reduced to $50,000 each.  A jury in Iowa awarded the larger sum to the men based on the harm they suffered while employed at a turkey processing plant in Iowa.  The jury’s verdict was the largest verdict ever obtained by the EEOC in an employment discrimination case under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The Iowa jury’s recognition of the inherent value of the lives of individuals with intellectual disability was historic.   However, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 limits damages for discrimination to $50,000 for punitive and compensatory damages combined in cases where the employers have 15 to 100 employees.  If the award is reduced by the court, it will not affect the $1.37 million award the men won previously due to wage discrimination.   Despite the fact the Henry’s Turkey Service is believed to have no more than $4 million in assets, EEOC has pledged to pursue the men’s awards vigorously.  Kenneth Henry, president of Henry’s, has said he will appeal the decision.

Over four decades, Henry’s sent hundreds of men who had disabilities from Texas to Iowa to work at a West Liberty meat-processing plant for wages far below minimum wage.  The men lived in a 100-year-old former school building that had been converted to a bunkhouse.  Federal law limited EEOC to the final two years of Henry’s operation which limited the number of workers who could claim compensation.  Henry’s has been fined by the US Department of Labor and Iowa Workforce Development for labor law violations for a total of $2.96 million. To read The Arc’s statement, visit our website.

Health Care – House Votes to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

On May 16, the House of Representatives voted 229-195 to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The House has voted 37 times to repeal all or parts of the law.  The bill (H.R. 45) is not expected to move forward as the Senate has no plans to vote on repeal of the ACA.

Medicaid – Senate votes to confirm Marilyn Tavenner as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

With a vote of 91-7, the Senate confirmed Marilyn Tavenner, a former hospital executive and Virginia state government official as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). While the Senate showed broad bi-partisan support for her, there are still strong partisan divisions over the Affordable Care Act which she plays a significant role in implementing. It has been nine years since the Senate confirmed an administrator.  She has been serving as the acting head of the agency.

Major Events This Week

Social Security – House to Hold Hearing on Reform Proposals

On May 23, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security, will hold the third hearing in a series on “the President’s and Other Bipartisan Entitlement Reform Proposals.” According to the hearing notice, “Bipartisan proposals to adjust benefits have included increasing both the full and early retirement ages to account for increases in life expectancy, including a hardship exemption from retirement age increases for certain workers, indexing the benefit formula to account for increases in longevity, allowing beneficiaries to receive up to half of their benefits beginning at age 62, slowing the growth of benefits for higher lifetime earners, increasing benefits for low lifetime earners, and increasing benefits for long-time beneficiaries.” Visit the Committee web site to learn more and to view live video on the day of the hearing.


Acclaimed Author Confirmed for Convention Keynote
Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, will be The Arc’s keynote speaker at the National Convention outside of Seattle August 3-5. Register now to hear from this acclaimed author as he introduces his new book Father’s Day about his relationship with his son with I/DD. Take advantage of discounted early bird rates until July 5 at www.thearc.org/convention.

Health Care – Resource to Received Updates on the Affordable Care Act

Do you or does anyone you know need health insurance? Do you want to spread the word about the new options for purchasing private health insurance in the health care marketplaces?  If so, sign up at http://www.healthcare.gov/ to receive information and updates about the Affordable Care Act.

Employment – EEOC Releases Updated Publications on Employment Rights of People with Specific Disabilities

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released four revised publications on protection against employment discrimination on the basis of a disability. The publications describe how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to job applicants and employees with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disability. Visit the EEOC website to view the full question and answer series.

Medicaid/Long Term Services and Supports – Webinar on Medicaid Managed Long Term Services and Supports

A webinar on a report focused on Medicaid managed long term services and supports (MLTSS) issued by The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) is scheduled for May 29, 2013 at 2 p.m. (EDT). The webinar is part of The Arc’s HealthMeet Project and is sponsored by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, will provide an overview of MLTSS, explain key issues for individuals with I/DD, and highlight recommendations contained in the report.

Medicaid – Webinar on the Balancing Incentives Program Shares the Experiences of Three States

A webinar describing the experiences of three states – Texas, Indiana, and Missouri – with the Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) is scheduled for May 30, 2013, from 2 – 3:30 p.m. (ET).  BIP is a time-limited grant program that helps states rebalance their long-term services and supports programs from an over-reliance on institutional services to home and community-based services. Thirteen states have received awards totaling approximately $1.7 billion. Additional states must apply by August 1, 2014.


  • Marc S. Gold, Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
  • Satrina McDonald, Division of Disability & Rehabilitative Services, Indiana Family & Social Services Administration
  • Theresa Valdes, MO HealthNet Division, Department of Social Services

To register, please go to the following link: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/rb5vay9u4431

This webinar will highlight the work of the three states: Texas, Indiana, and Missouri. Representatives will discuss the application process, requirements, and how they are using the program.

Paul Marchand Internship in Disability Policy – Applications for the Fall 2013 session extended to May 20

For 38 years, Paul Marchand was a dedicated disability policy advocate and recognized leader working on behalf of people with I/DD and the entire disability community.  Upon his retirement in 2011, The Arc, with substantial contributions from United Cerebral Palsy, other organizations, and individuals with whom Paul worked during his decades in Washington, established an internship to honor Paul and to continue to cultivate disability policy advocates.  The Paul Marchand Internship Fund will provide $3,000 per semester or summer session which can assist interns pursuing careers in public policy advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The deadline for applications for Fall 2013 has been extended to May 20. See Application information and Internship FAQs for more information.
Education/Employment – Join The Online Dialogue on Transition From School to Work

Members of the public are invited to participate in an online dialogue to examine the impact of existing federal regulations and legislation on the successful transition from school to work of youth and young adults with disabilities. The U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration are hosting the event through May 27, and invite policymakers, educators, service providers, families, youth, the advocacy community and others to join this conversation to improve transition outcomes.  To register for and participate in the dialogue, visit http://FPTepolicyworks.ideascale.com.

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)