Monday, August 5, 2019

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief
Congressional Recess All Month
Members of Congress are in their home districts! Think about hosting a community event and inviting your members of Congress, or invite them to visit your programs or centers.
Action Steps:
·       - Reach out to both the district office and DC office with your request and ask to be connected with a scheduler.
Autism CARES
The Autism CARES Act - which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families - will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization.
HR. 1058, which reauthorizes CARES for five years, passed the House on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. CARES is currently being hotlined in the Senate -- this means Senate Leadership is running a notice to both Democrats and Republicans to try to pass it by unanimous consent. We had hoped this would happen before the Senate adjourned for the August Recess. However, at least one Senator's office has paused the process. Senate champions and constituent voices worked to clear the concerns, but the political realities meant the issues were not resolved in time.
Action Steps:
·       - Thank the House members of your Congressional delegation. A thank you is a chance to build a relationship and to continue to educate them about what is important to you.
·       Reach out to both of your Senators; share how important reauthorization is before the September 30th sunset.
·       - Ask for support for passage upon their return in September.
Budget & Appropriations
The House and Senate passed a budget package which boosts government spending by $320 billion over the next two years. The package would suspend the debt limit through July 2021 and increase spending caps for the next two years. The United States would be on track to add an estimated $1.7 Trillion to the annual deficit over the next decade when compared with the billions in automatic spending cuts that would have kicked in as a result of the 2011 Budget Control Act.
Action Steps:
·       - To understand the complexity of the budget process, refer back to our previous InBrief deep dive here.
·       - Continue to educate your Congressional delegations about the importance of appropriations to the programs and services that impact you.
Healthcare
AUCD submitted public comments to the Department of Heath and Human Services Office for Civil Rights about the proposed change to Section 1557 regarding Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities. A primary concern is that changes to Section 1557 would undermine or eliminate key protections of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) nondiscrimination provision from individuals - particularly people with disabilities - who have experienced discrimination in health care programs and settings.
Action Steps:
·       - View our public comment letter here.
·       - You are welcome to make comments as well using the following link.
·       - Unsure how to make public comments? Use our friendly tool.
Diagnostic Criteria
AUCD submitted comments to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) strongly opposing a proposed change to the DSM-5 concerning the diagnostic criteria for intellectual disability (ID). The DSM-5 is a guide for clinicians to diagnosis people with a disability. If changed, it may result in a population of people underdiagnosed, misdiagnosed or undiagnosed hindering their ability to access services that match their individual needs. In an attempt to clarify the current criteria for ID, the proposed revision creates greater concern around the understanding of intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior. It says - incorrectly - that adaptive functioning is a cause of intellectual functioning. We proposed a change to the DSM-5 that will direct clinicians more clearly in the diagnosis of intellectual disability, which could positively impact eligibility for supports and services.
Action Steps:
·       - View our public comment letter here.
·       - You are welcome to make comments as well using the following link.
·       - Unsure how to make public comments? Use our friendly tool.

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