Friday, November 17, 2017

AUCD Action Alert on the Tax Bill and ACA

from AUCD:

Tax Bill and Affordable Care Act
Meet with your Members of Congress during Thanksgiving Recess – Nov 20-24
On November 16, the full House (HR 1) and the Senate Finance Committee passed legislation that would make drastic changes to the tax code. The measure was approved in the House by a vote of 227-205 (no Democrats voted for the bill, and 13 Republicans opposed it), and by the Senate committee with a vote of 14-12.
The Senate bill, like the House bill, provides the largest tax cuts to corporations and those with high incomes. One big difference between the two bills: The Senate version would repeal the requirement in current law that all Americans must have health insurance coverage. This individual mandate is a critical part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which helps keep premium costs lower than they otherwise would be without the requirement.
This single provision of the bill generates $318 billion in savings over the next ten years and advances two major Republican priorities: 1) while not a full repeal of the law, it strikes a major blow to the ACA; and 2) the savings generated by repealing the individual mandate helps pay for other tax breaks elsewhere in the bill.
Complex Senate rules have restrictions on how much the bill can cost the U.S. Treasury over the next decade. A new analysis says rolling back the ACA would violate the Senate rules and add significantly to the national deficit.
Historically, increases to the deficit have resulted in enormous pressure to cut programs that people with disabilities and their families rely on – Medicaid and other community supports, child care, Head Start, housing, education, job training, Social Security, and more.
Both the House and Senate tax bills do little to benefit people with disabilities and their families, and would actually force cuts elsewhere in federal spending, with the Medicaid program being the largest and most vulnerable target for future reductions.
What is Happening?
Both the full House and the Senate Finance Committee passed different versions of the tax bill on November 16.
Your Members of Congress will be on recess from November 20-24.
There will likely be a Senate vote in late November, and although concerns about the bill have been expressed by Senators in both parties, including Senators Susan Collins (R-MA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John McCain (R-AZ), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), the time to act is now!
The President has said he wants a tax overhaul signed into law before Christmas.
Take Action:
Meet with your Members of Congress while they are back home, November 20-24.
This recess is an important time to schedule meetings with your Members to educate them on:
1. how these extreme tax cuts will result in reducing needed care for people with disabilities and their families;
2. the importance of Medicaid and other health care programs for people with disabilities;
3. how repealing the Individual Mandate provision of the ACA would result in premiums increasing for approximately 7 million people, large declines in enrollment, and loss of insurance due to marketplace instability; and
4. how these tax cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthy and result in increased taxes for many low-income families.
Find your Members here and schedule a meeting with them TODAY!

Public Notice Regarding the Renewal to the Child Mental Health Wraparound State Plan Benefit

In December 2017, the Indiana Family and Social Service Administration (FSSA) Division of Mental Health and Addiction Youth Services (DMHA-Y) intends to submit a proposed renewal to the Child Mental Health Wraparound (CMHW) State Plan Benefit to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for consideration. The CMHW renewal will be available for review and public comment beginning on November 15, 2017 by accessing DMHA-Y’s Policy and Procedure page (
The renewal to the CMHW includes information regarding changes made to the CMHW program which will have an effective renewal date of July 1, 2018 contingent on CMS approval. Changes include clarification of settings requirements for HCBS to bring all sites providing CMHW services into compliance with federal regulations and an extension of services into the member’s 18th year of age, so long as eligibility is met.
The renewal will update provider qualifications for Wraparound Facilitation, Respite, Habilitation, and Training and Support for Unpaid Caregivers The renewal will include a provider rate increase for Respite and Wraparound Facilitation as a result of recently conducted rate review. These changes are to increase the workforce in underserved areas with the plan to increase service to members.
The 30 day public comment period will run from November 15, 2017 to December 15, 2017. Comments may be emailed to or mailed to the address below.  
FSSA, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services
DMHA Youth Services402 W. Washington, W353Indianapolis, IN 46204 
A posted copy of the proposed renewal changes will be available at your local Access Site and at your local Division of Family Resources office. 
Jennifer Walthall
SecretaryFamily and Social Services Administration

Resources for ACA Enrollment for Those with Disabilities

Are you looking for local partners to help with outreach to the disability community? The NDNRC has Community Outreach Collaboratives (COCs) which work to increase collaborations in the community, dissemination and outreach efforts and enrollment of people with disabilities in the ACA marketplace. You can find a COC, on the COC page of our website.

Archives of our weekly updates are available on the NDNRC website.

The NDNRC is an initiative aimed at providing cross-disability information and support to Navigators, enrollment specialists and consumers thereby ensuring people with disabilities receive accurate information when selecting and enrolling in the health insurance marketplaces. The NDNRC website can be found at:

FAMILY VOICES INDIANA is the COC for our state. Feel free to contact us at 844 F2F INFO or

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Please Take Survey to Give Input to I/DD Task Force

from The Arc of Indiana:

The Task Force for Assessment of Services and Supports for People with Intellectual and Other Developmental Disabilities, established by HEA 1102 in the 2017 session of the Indiana General Assembly, is studying the current system of services for people with I/DD.
To assist The Arc in providing information to the task force, please complete a short survey.  Your input will be shared with the task force.
Survey for Parents, Family Members, and People with I/DD
Survey for Providers, Direct Support Professionals, and Professionals in Disability

Giving Thanks!

We appreciate our
generous partners!

Now is the time to be thankful for things big and small.

At Family Voices Indiana, we’re thankful for you. You’re the professionals who assist the families we serve, families just like ours. You help us access services and provide the best care possible for our children. You’re a big part of what we do, crucial to our mission of serving families and children.

We hope you’re thankful for us. We are here when you have a question that needs an answer, when you need quick information from our fact sheets, and when you can give our number to a family that needs additional services. From our webinars to our training, Family Voices Indiana offers those little things that make your job easier.

Your donation, big or small, will ensure our continued service to you, your colleagues and clients. It will fund all the above and more, from our commitment to supplying the most current navigation information available to our Spanish-speaking staff and communications materials to our collaboration with organizations that serve the CYSHCN population to further your mission and ours.

Show your thanks for the little things we do, and get a big “Thank You!” from Family Voices Indiana and the families we serve.

Your tax-deductible gifts to Family Voices Indiana will directly support Hoosier families. To make a donation, please click the button below or visit . Please contact Family Voices Indiana at 844 F2F INFO or with any questions.

Families tell the story of how Family Voices Indiana
makes a difference for them.

"Wow! What wonderful information and resources! I am so thankful for friends who are in the know and so willing to help." - Family Member, Southern Indiana
"You have such a great knowledge base and a huge network of professionals and services which make you so valuable to providers and families." - First Steps Provider

"I was just so thrilled that I got such personal service. You all have been so helpful. The help is just pouring in." - Family Member, Northern Indiana 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Action Alert! Don’t Let Congress Trade Tax Cuts for Medicaid and Other Essential Services

from AAPD:

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) this Thursday (11/16/2017). The Senate has begun markup on their version of the bill, also titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this week and is expected to hold a floor vote the week after Thanksgiving.
Both bills would add $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit and are skewed to benefit the most wealthy Americans. If passed, this legislation presents a dangerous scenario that could lead to future funding cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and other supports and services that people with disabilities rely on to live independently in the community. Our elected officials in the House of Representatives and Senate need to hear from the disability community about our concerns with this tax cut plan.
The Senate tax bill now includes language to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that repealing the individual mandate “would result in 4 million people losing their health insurance in the first year and 13 million in a decade.”
The House bill is also damaging as it proposes to eliminate several tax deductions and credits that benefit people with disabilities. These include:
  • The Medical Expense Deduction: This tax deduction allows people to deduct large, unreimbursed medical and dental expenses that exceed 10% of their income. Approximately 8.8 million people utilize this deduction, 70% of which have an income at $70,000 or lower. Most filings are around $10,000 by people with high healthcare costs, which largely includes people with disabilities, chronic health conditions, and other medical conditions. People are allowed to deduct expenses for a variety of expenses including treatments, surgeries, medications, and medical travel.
  • The Disabled Access Credit and Barrier Removal Tax Deduction: Businesses that accommodate people with disabilities may qualify for tax credits and deductions including the Disabled Access Credit and the Barrier Removal Tax Deduction. This credit and deduction incentivizes small businesses to make their businesses accessible for disabled people. Small businesses can claim a 50% credit per year for expenditures between $250 and $10,250 that increase access and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • The Work Opportunity Tax Credit: This federal tax credit is available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups (including disabled people who receive services from Vocational Rehabilitation, SSI recipients, returning citizens, veterans, and long-term unemployment compensation recipients) who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The current tax credit for hiring a person with a disability can be as high as $2,400 for a business.
At present time, these deductions and credits are not eliminated in the Senate bill.
While neither tax bill includes direct cuts to Medicaid or other disability services, these cuts are expected to follow to offset the $1.5 trillion added to the deficit due to providing large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Medicaid and other disability services were the target of intense cuts over the summer through the various Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bills proposed in the House and Senate. There is no doubt that these same services remain on the chopping block to help pay for the proposed tax cuts.

Take Action

Contact your Representative and tell them to oppose this bill!

Call your Congress Members

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Representative.

Meet with your Congress Members

You can arrange a meeting in Washington, DC or in your home state, depending on when Congress is in session. Contacting Congress allows you to request a meeting with your Member of Congress. You can also check the Town Hall Project for congressional events in your area. The Senate is planning to vote on their version of the tax bill after Thanksgiving. This provides an opportunity to meet with your Senators while they are in your home state over the holiday.

Email your Congress Members

Contacting Congress provides unique links to email your Representative directly.

Tweet your Congress Members

Twitter has become a powerful tool to communicate with elected officials directly. Find your Congress Members on Twitter and tell them to oppose these bills.

Sample Tweets to Fights Against Disability Attacks in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (developed by Access Living)

  • 8.8 million households claimed medical deductions in 2015. Eliminating deduction vital to people with high medical costs is a #TaxOnDisability.
  • Taking away medical deductions from seniors with greater medical needs, people with disabilities, and families with disabled kids is a #TaxOnDisability.
  • Average deduction claimed is close to $10K; cost of long-term care could be $100K or more. Keep deduction, no to #TaxOnDisability
  • #TCJA eliminates incentive for businesses to hire people with disabilities, including older Americans with disabilities. No to #TaxOnDisability
  • Current tax credit for hiring a person with a disability can be as high as $2,400; ending the Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a #TaxOnDisability
  • Eliminating orphan drug tax credit is a #TaxOnDisability. Older Americans and people with disabilities are more likely to have a rare disease or condition #TCJA
  • Eliminating small business tax credit for increasing accessibility to employees with disabilities, older workers, and customers is a #TaxOnDisability
  • The #TCJA may result in older Americans and individuals with disabilities paying more taxes on Social Security benefits.
  • If seniors and individuals with disabilities can’t deduct medical expenses, many may need to use tax-deferred accounts. No to #TaxOnDisability
  • #TCJA could kill investments in underserved communities that provide people with disabilities a place to live. No to #TaxOnDisability
  • Eliminating deduction of state/local income, sales taxes from federal taxable income would squeeze state budgets No to #TaxOnDisability
  • #TCJA could force massive cuts that block grant #Medicaid and damage state programs for people with disabilities. No to #TaxOnDisability

Additional Resources

Action Alert: Tell your Representative and your Senators: Vote NO on H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

from The Coalition on Human Needs:

Tell your Representative and your Senators: Vote NO on H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The House will take up a bill during the week of Nov. 13 that would provide trillions of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires and wealthy corporations. We must defeat this massive give-away to the rich, which will be paid for by cuts to programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, education, SNAP, housing, job training low-income tax credits, and so many others that help struggling families make ends meet. Click here  to email your Representative and Senators.

Take action locally.  Our friends at Indivisible have created this handy guide that lists anti-tax cut rallies happening across the U.S.
Call your member of Congress.  CHN joins Americans for Tax Fairness and a broad range of organizations in the “Not One Penny” campaign to ask everyone to call this number – 877-795-7862 – and tell their members of Congress to vote against this plan. When you call the number, you will be asked for your zip code, and then you will directly be connected to your congressional representative’s office.
Alternately, you can visit this web site, select the member of Congress you wish to contact, and enter your phone number and zip code.  You then will be connected with the office of the Representative or Senator you selected.
Want to tweet at your Representative or Senators in Congress? Click here to look up your Representative’s twitter handle; click here for a list of Senators’ Twitter handles.