This week through April 21, your members of Congress are still on recess in their state/district. Take this opportunity to schedule an in-person meeting or attend any scheduled town hall meetings. As a reminder, the Hill reported that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Republicans as they departed (last week) that their recesses could be cut short if a deal is reached on legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare (see Health care below for more details and a CCD recess Action Alert).
Congress will have only four days following its return from recess to finalize eleven annual appropriations bills for the fiscal year 2017 that began on October 1 of 2016. While appropriations staff recently seemed confident that they would be able to finalize bipartisan negotiations and pass an omnibus bill packaging all bills together, the Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney recently warned that President Trump could veto the annual funding bills if they do not fund some of his priorities. The President's priorities include a $30 billion defense supplemental and a $3 billion border security spending request. It is unclear if these tensions between the White House and Congress will lead to a government shutdown, but it may at least require another short-term continuing resolution to allow time to finalize agreements.
Funding Crisis for Public Health and Safety
Trust for America's Health (TFAH) has released Funding Crisis for Public Health and Safety: A State-by-State Public Health Funding and Key Health Facts, 2017, which found that core funding for disease prevention and health promotion programs has declined by around $580 million federally and has remained flat in states since 2010 (adjusting for inflation). The annual review demonstrates that cuts to federal funds have not been offset by increases to state and local funding. Read the full news release.
Health insurance market for 2018
On April 13, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final Market Stabilization rule to "help lower premiums and stabilize individual and small group markets and increase choices for Americans". The final rule makes several policy changes including: 1) aligning the 2018 Annual Open Enrollment Period with Medicare and the private market; the next open enrollment period will start on November 1, 2017, and run through December 15, 2017, encouraging individuals to enroll in coverage prior to the beginning of the year. 2) Promoting "program integrity by requiring individuals to submit supporting documentation for special enrollment periods," which ensures that only those who are eligible can enroll; this is said to reduce gaps in coverage and result in fewer individual mandate penalties and help to lower premiums. 3) Allowing issuers to require individuals to pay back past due premiums before enrolling into a plan with the same issuer the following year. This is said to "encourage individuals to maintain continuous coverage." 4) Reducing "waste of taxpayer dollars" by eliminating duplicative review of network adequacy by the federal government. In other words, it returns oversight of network adequacy to states only.
Impact of American Health Care Act
On April 13, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released 50-state reports showing the negative impacts of the House Republican health care bill (the American Health Care Act, or AHCA) across the country. These reports show the impact the AHCA would have on each state by population and cost.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The House Judiciary Committee may hold a mark-up on the Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620), a bill to weaken the ADA, next week when Congress returns from recess; the plan is to then bring it to a full House vote in June. Similarly, the Senate Judiciary Committee will move swiftly to get this bill out of committee in early summer; Senator Flake (R-AZ) is ready to introduce the bill that is approved by the House Judiciary Committee mark-up. In March the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights Task Force sent a letter to the Ranking Member of the House Committee opposing HR 620. The letter indicated that the bill would create significant obstacles for people with disabilities to enforce their rights under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to access public accommodations, and would impede their ability to engage in daily activities and participate in society.
Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All
In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz interviews Evan Nodvin about why Medicaid is important in his life. In case you missed it last week, Liz interviewed Timotheus Gordon, LEND fellow in Illinois, about the development of an online study that he developed about people with Autism and who are also people with color.
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For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms