Major Events Last Week
Budget & Appropriations – FY 2014 Spending Bill Pulled in House
Leadership of the House of Representatives cancelled a planned vote on a short term funding bill due to disagreements on a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act. Another short term measure to fund the federal government at FY 2013 sequestration levels is expected to be introduced this week.
Medicaid / Medicare –The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Minnesota to Conduct Demonstration for Dual Eligibles
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Minnesota have successfully negotiated a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to move ahead with a demonstration to integrate and coordinate health care for individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Minnesota will use a program that has been in place since 1997, Minnesota Senior Health Option (MSHO). Under the program, health plans, which operate as Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPS), will continue to provide integrated care for members and provide information to them about all of the benefits available in a more integrated manner. The MSHOs will use integrated grievance and appeals processes. Minnesota’s demonstration is different from the previous seven that CMS has approved in that it is neither a managed fee-for-services model, such as Washington State, nor a capitated model, such as Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Ohio, Virginia, and New York. Minnesota’s demonstration is a set of administrative improvements designed to simplify the process of obtaining benefits under Medicare and Medicaid for beneficiaries.
Long Term Services and Supports – Long Term Care Commission Fails to Reach Agreement on How to Finance Long Term Services and Supports for People with Disabilities and Seniors
The Long Term Care Commission concluded its work without reaching agreement on how to finance long term services and supports for people with disabilities and seniors. The Commission voted 9 – 6 to issue bipartisan recommendations about the workforce and service delivery issues that it will include in its final report to be delivered to Congress. The commission was created at the end of 2012 and was required to vote on recommendations by September 12, 2013 and a final report by September 30.
Five of the six members who did not vote in favor of the report issued alternative recommendations. The five Commission members said that the time frame did not allow the Commission to make recommendations for a comprehensive long-term services system. The Commission will hold a public meeting on September 18, 2013 to release its final report.
Health Care – The House Votes Again to Repeal an Affordable Care Act Provision
On September 12, 2013, the House of Representatives voted to pass legislation prohibiting the Obama administration from providing subsidies to low and moderate income people enrolled in the health insurance marketplace until the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General reviews efforts to ensure the accuracy of the income verification process. Opponents of the law supported this bill because of concerns that not enough has been done to ensure that people accurately report their income in order to qualify for subsidies. The bill, like other efforts to partially or fully repeal the law, is unlikely to move in the Senate. The Administration has threatened to veto the bill, calling it unnecessary as HHS has a verification process in place. The subsidies are critical to helping ensure that health care is affordable for low and moderate income people. Enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces begins October 1, 2013.
Health Care – New Resources Available on The Arc’s Website
The Arc wants to make sure you have the most up to date resources and information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We continue to update our Health Care page on our website, and are excited to announce a new toolkit that will help educate individuals about the benefits of the ACA and how to support outreach and enrollment.
Paul Marchand Internship in Disability Policy – Applications for the Spring 2014 Session Due September 21 (Extension of previous deadline)
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 to assist interns pursuing careers in public policy advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. See Application information and Internship FAQs for more information.
Seeking Stories of Discretionary Program Cuts
As the budget battles loom, we continue to seek stories of people with disabilities, their families, and service providers who have been affected by budget cuts to discretionary programs such as housing, employment, education, and transportation. We are seeking vignettes (500-750 words) of a first-person account from people who are coping with the effects of budget cuts. The individual could be a provider of services or someone who benefits from a program and would need to be willing to be identified and respond to media inquiries about their experience. If you have a story to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a list of programs important to the disability community:
IDEA State Grant (Part B)
IDEA Early Intervention (Part C)
IDEA Preschool Grants
Supported Employment State Grant
Vocational Rehabilitation State Grant
Maternal and Child Health Block Grant
Development Disabilities (DD) Councils
DD Act Projects of National Significance (PNS)
Lifespan Respite Care Act
National Family Caregiver Support Program
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Social Services Block Grant (Title XX)
Section 811 Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities
Section 5310 Transportation Program