In This Issue
callsenMedicaid is Under Attack!

Advocates are working furiously to oppose a health care bill that they say would bring devastating cuts to services and supports that people with disabilities rely on.

The U.S. Senate is barreling toward a vote on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which could happen as soon as next week. Republicans have been working behind closed doors to craft the bill, which is not expected to go before any committees prior to a vote on the Senate floor.

It's unclear exactly what the measure will call for or how similar it will be to the health care bill passed by the House of Representatives in May. 

Under the President's proposed budget, Medicaid, the primary health insurance and long term services and supports program for people with disabilities, would lose $610 billion over 10 years (on top of the over $830 billion in cuts in the American Health Care Act passed by the House of Representatives in March). The combined cuts roughly halve the program's federal budget by 2027. Medicaid's "optional" services , expected to take the brunt of such a drastic cut, include prescription drugs, physical therapy, and all home and community based services under state plan and "waiver" programs. Medicaid, including home and community based services, makes it possible for millions of people with disabilities to survive and to live and work in the community. Click here to read more. 

A survey, conducted by Brunswick Partners, found that 75 percent of Americans agree that the proposed changes to Medicaid in the AHCA are a bad idea. And that we should not allow 14 million Americans to become uninsured even if there is a potential to reduce Medicaid spending. These results are significant because they find majorities of Americans identifying as conservatives (55 percent), moderates (82 percent) and liberals (90 percent) are opposed to the AHCA's Medicaid provisions. Click here to read more. 

The Arc of the United States recently released a series of videos focusing on individuals and their families who rely on Medicaid services. You can watch them here
Developmental Disabilities Administration Accepting Low Intensity Support Services Applications

Maryland's Developmental Disability Administration is currently accepting applications for Low Intensity Support Services (LISS). Applications for Round 1 will be accepted from now until June 30. Recipients will be chosen randomly on July 15. Round 2 of applications will be accepted from July 1 through October 30. Recipients of Round 2 will be chosen randomly on November 15. To learn more and to apply for LISS, click here
medicaidA Self-Advocate's Guide to Medicaid Now Available

The Autism Self Advocacy Network recently released "A Self-Advocate's Guide to Medicaid," a plain language resource made in conjunction with Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training Collaboration with funding by the Special Hope Foundation. This guide easy to understand and navigate information about the biggest healthcare program in the country. The guide answers questions ranging from who can get Medicaid to what could happen to Medicaid should funding change. The guide can be found here
conThe Arc Maryland's State Convention was a Huge Success!

June 2 was The Arc Maryland's 2017 State Convention, and it was a huge success! From Walter Suskind's keynote address to the breakout sessions and awards luncheon, everything was informative and exciting! Pictures from the event are now available on our Facebook page and on our website!
The 2017 Public Policy Fellows Describe Their Time at the Maryland General Assembly

The Arc Maryland Public Policy Fellowship was created to build the next generation of public policy leaders and grow capacity at the local chapter level to increase grassroots engagement with the Maryland General Assembly. Fellows work part-time during the legislative session and have the chance to learn, observe and be a part of real-time legislation. We were pleased to sponsor two Fellows during the 2017 Session.  

Jamie Stoner, Director of Outreach
The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region
This legislative session I had the honor to work with families, professionals, lobbyists and legislators on important issues that impact the disability community.  There were two things that quickly became evident in my time with The Arc Maryland. First, legislators want to hear from their constituents. The second is that legislators don't want to hear about our issues from lobbyists; they want to hear from individuals, families and direct support staff directly. One of the most powerful things that I witnessed is a person with a disability, their family or their direct support staff meet with a legislator or testify before a committee and tell their story. Often legislators want to be educated on what the issues are, and need to see and hear first-hand from those impacted by the proposed legislation. If a legislator understands the issue and the impact for the people in their district, you begin to see real change. 

Aaron Stephens, Deputy Director 
The Arc of Frederick County

The 2017 Legislative Session proved to be another exciting journey as I had the privilege to serve as a Public Policy Fellow for a second year.  The opportunity to work directly with Cristy Marchand was a great honor as she mentored me to hone my advocacy skills.

Healthcare was clearly a passionate topic for not only Maryland, but the entire country. The energy surrounding this roller-coaster topic was epic during the 2017 session. The Arc advocated for a variety of healthcare related issues.  Being a part of not only the debates on the subject, but also having the opportunity to take action was exuberating. It was an honor to write and present testimony in support of Maryland becoming the first state to fight price gouging of prescription drugs. 

To read their full accounts, click here
Family Supports for Maryland Families are Expanding

The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) is developing a new Family Support Waiver program to provide assistance for individuals with developmental disabilities under the age of 21 and their families. The DDA has released drafts on the proposed services, which include everything from assistive technology to community supports. 

To access the services which will be provided through this program, you will need to apply to the DDA waiting list, if you are not already on it. The process can take up to several months, so to qualify for the program when it becomes available in 2018, now is the time to apply. Click here for the application. 

For more information, click here
New Funding to Expand College Options for Transitioning Youth

Maryland, in conjunction with the University of Maryland, has recently received a $25,000 grant from Think College National Coordinating Center to expand and enhance the quality of college programs for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. This grant is on top of $250,000 already allocated in Governor Hogan's budget to expand opportunities for young adults with I/DD who are transitioning out of Maryland high schools. State partners will begin planning this spring to determine the best practices and to coordinate efforts across the state.
ThinkWork is Looking for Families Motivate in Employment Planning Study

When individuals with I/DD are looking for employment opportunities, their family's involvement is essential. The Family Engagement in Online Employment Planning Intervention is conducting a study through ThinkWork! and is looking for parents of students with I/DD. The study will coach families through the employment planning process to see how individualized motivational communications impacts employment outcomes. If you are interested in participating in the study, click here for an informational flyer, and take the screening survey here
Upcoming Events
DDA Family Supports Waiver Public Forums

The Developmental Disabilities Administration will be holding 2 regional forums on the new Family Supports Waiver. These forums will cover many of the services and supports that the Developmental Disabilities Administration has studied. The forums are open to family members of children who are waiting for services through the DDA or do not receive services, family advocacy organizations, and community service organizations interested in providing services under the new waiver.

Session 1
When: June 21, 6 - 8 pm
Where:  The Clarion Inn   5400 Holiday Drive,  Frederick
Register Here

Session 2
When: June 22, 6 - 8 pm
Where: The Quality Inn   8523 Ocean Gateway,  Easton
Register Here
Sprout Film Festival - June 24

The Arc Howard County has partnered with Columbia Festival of the Arts and the Howard County Autism Society to present the Sprout Film Festival on June 24 at the Horowitz Center at Howard Community College. The film festival will feature films created by, about, and featuring individuals with disabilities. There are a limited number of tickets, so click here to reserve your tickets today!
Advocating for a Meaningful Life - Information Session: Using Technology Safely for Self Advocates - July 6

The Developmental Disabilities Training Unit will be holding an information session for self advocates on how to use the internet and technology safely. The session will be held on July 6 at the Chesapeake Center at  713 Dover Road in Easton from 1 to 2:30 pm. To register for the event, click here
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