There are a series of policy issues that directly impact individuals with disabilities and their families. As well, policy and program issues impact providers and their ability to provide high quality care. UCP continues to monitor all the policy and program issues that impact the ability for individuals with disabilities to be front and center in their health care and life decisions.
Below provides a sampling of the current policy and program issues we are monitoring. Continue to check back to find the status along with new additions.
The purpose of the RAISE Act is to direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop, maintain, and periodically update a National Family Caregiving Strategy. HHS shall convene a Family Caregiving Advisory Council to advise it on recognizing and supporting family caregivers. Federal departments and agencies must share with HHS any data they maintain that HHS needs to prepare the initial and updated strategies.
The RISE Act of 2016 seeks to remove some of the most common barriers faced by students, and their families s, by requiring 4-year colleges and universities to adopt more transparent policies for their disability services – making it easier for students to obtain accommodations, services, and the supports they need throughout their college experience.
This legislation is meant to make permanent the changes enacted by President Obama in July of 2015 through The Steve Gleason Act. The Steve Gleason Act removed medically necessary Speech Generating Devices from the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment payment category as a “Capped Rental” and provides coverage of eye-tracking technology for patients who rely on this method to access and operate covered Speech Generating Devices.
The Lifespan Respite Care Program helps build coordinated state systems to improve access to services, help caregivers pay for respite or find funding sources, encourage development of new and innovative community and faith-based respite opportunities, and train respite workers and volunteers. The Lifespan Respite Reauthorization Act of 2017 reauthorizes and funds this program through 2022.
The Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act would repeal a 1996 change in law that allowed earned benefits to be garnished as a means of collecting federal debts like student loans. Cutting earned benefits – like Social Security – to collect federal debts such as student loans can create a severe financial hardship for vulnerable, low-income seniors as well as individuals with disabilities living on fixed incomes.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed comprehensive health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), into law. The American Health Care Act of 2017, which passed the House in May of 2017, is a bill intended to “repeal and replace” the ACA.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed comprehensive health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), into law. The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 is the Senate’s response to the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA). Both bills are intended to “repeal and replace” the ACA.
Improving Access to Higher Education Act of 2017 (H.R.3199)This bill, introduced in July of 2017, would do a number of things to improve access to, and quality of, higher education for people with disabilities.
Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program causes the prices of certain assistive medical equipment vary region to region, making it difficult for some individuals to gain the assistance they need. The Separate MC Complex Rehab Bill (H.R. 1361) (S. 486) would eliminate the competitive bidding process on all items related to complex rehab wheelchairs and accessories by standardizing the prices for these types of equipment.
The Disability Integration Act aims to prevent states, local governments, and insurance providers who provide Long Term Services & Support from placing individuals with disabilities in institutions and denying them access to community-based services. Regardless of whether or not the individual requires LTSS, they should be given the option of utilizing community services that would allow them to live independently and integrated in the community.
Complex rehab technology (CRT) is currently covered under Medicare’s Durable Medical Equipment (DME) benefit category, but the coverage is not nearly enough. To create appropriate coverage, the Complex Rehab Technology (H.R. 750) Act has proposed that CRT become its own Medicare benefit category to ensure adequate coverage, manufacturing standards, and insurance coding.
Disability Community Support for Protecting Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act of 2016 (PADME) (H.R.5210)
In the addition of the Medicare Modernization Act by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), legislators encouraged a competitive bidding process meant to drive down the prices and increase the quality of medical devices for consumers. The Implementing the Protecting Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment (PADME) Act of 2016 affects reimbursement cuts for medical suppliers in non-competitive bidding regions and increases the accountability of medical suppliers.
In order to reduce the severity of high medical costs, Medicaid allows parents, grandparents, and guardians of a child with special needs to set up an account devoted to paying for disability-related costs. In 2015, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act was introduced to amend Medicaid to allow individuals with disabilities to set up SNTs with their own assets, otherwise known as first-party SNTs.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was enacted in December 2015, was crafted in response to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act to redefine educational standards and give states more autonomy in directing schools and teachers.
The purpose of ABLE accounts is to relieve the financial stress caused by the cost of disability-related services. In additional to federal benefits, the assets in ABLE accounts can be used to cover any expense related to the disability of the individual. These expenses would include but are not limited to: education, transportation, housing, assistive technology, health services and prevention costs.
These four bills were introduced to modify the Americans with Disabilities Act. All four deal with regulating the procedure to file a formal complaint against a business for being inaccessible due to a temporary or architectural barrier.