UCP, working through its Disability Policy Collaboration, worked with Members of Congress, their staff and other disability coalition members to support passage of numerous laws that advance the interests of people with disabilities. Some highlights include:
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 provides numerous improvements including:
- Prohibiting private health insurance exclusions for pre-existing conditions;
- Eliminating annual and lifetime caps in private insurance policies;
- Restricting the consideration of health status in setting premiums;
- Expanding Medicaid to cover individuals with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line (approximately $29,000 per year for a family of four.
- Ensuring that minimum covered benefits include products and services that enable people with disabilities to maintain and improve function, such as rehabilitation and habilitation services and devices.
Access to Quality Care:
- Improving training of physicians, dentists, and allied health professionals on how to treat persons with disabilities;
- Requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to collect data on beneficiaries with disabilities
- Ensuring prevention programs include a focus on individuals with disabilities.
Long Term Services and Supports:
- Increasing the federal share of Medicaid, known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (or FMAP), for home and community based services (HCBS) and during periods of economic downturn;
- Allowing states to offer additional services under the 1915(i) Medicaid HCBS Waivers State Plan Option;
- Providing spousal impoverishment protections for HCBS Beneficiaries;
- Strengthening long-term services and supports through a two pronged approach:
- Taking pressure off of the Medicaid program: The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act would create a national long term services insurance program which assists eligible individuals and their families to meet long term needs with a cash benefit and without forcing them into poverty to receive Medicaid benefits, and
- Improving the Medicaid program: The Community First Choice Option would help to eliminate the institutional bias by encouraging state states to cover personal attendant services under the state’s optional service plan instead of through the waiver system by offering a 6% increase in the federal share of Medicaid for these services.
- Obtain an increase of $16.1 billion in Medicaid funding and $10 billion in education funding that states can receive for 2011.
The Teacher Jobs and State Fiscal Relief Act of 2010 includes this federal funding for state Medicaid programs and school systems. Enactment of the law brings significant relief to advocates from across the country that had been bracing for further budget cuts to HCBS as well as special education teacher layoffs.
- Coverage of people with disabilities under the Hate Crimes Act
- The reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA):
- $87 billion for enhanced federal match for Medicaid
- $11.3 billion increase for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State Grant
- $400 million increase for the IDEA Preschool Program
- $500 million increase for the IDEA Part C Early Intervention Program
- $540 million increase for the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grant Program
- $140 million increase for Independent Living Programs
- Moratoria on six proposed Medicaid regulations were included in the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-252).
- The ADA Amendments Act (P.L. 110-325)
- The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (contained in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343))
- The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act (P.L. 110-374)
- The Higher Education Opportunity Act (P.L. 110-315)
- The National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act, which was included in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (P.L. 110-289)
- The Over-the-Road Bus Transportation Accessibility Act (P.L. 110-291)
- The Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act (P.L. 110-432)
- The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (P.L. 110-233)
- The SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act (P.L. 110-328)
- The U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans Care, Katrina Recovery and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-28), which included a raise in the minimum wage to $7.25 over 2 years. An extension until August 31, 2011 of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) was also included in the law.
Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2008, which included substantial increases for:
- Social Security Administration (+$451 million);
- HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (+$500 million);
- the IDEA State Grant (+$260 million);
- the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grant (+$37 million); and
- the Autism Program (+$16 million)
In addition, $2 million was set-aside for a National Clearing House and Technical Assistance Center for the families of children with developmental disabilities.
- Tax Relief and Health Care Act
- The Lifespan Respite Care Act
- Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005 (P.L. 109-171)
- Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act, which was included in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill for FY 2007
- Combating Autism through Research, Screening, Intervention and Education Act
- National Institutes of Health Reform Act