Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
Washington DC Update 6/25/21
What is cooking on the Hill?
Summertime cooking, grilling, and baking. What is on the menu? Who is the grillmaster? What are the right ingredients for the special sauce? This week’s Washington Update uses a culinary theme to share updates from Washington DC demonstrating the mixing and stirring involved in making and implementing the policy of today.
In the oven: the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act 

Originally enacted in 1972, this bill proposes a number of updates and changes to the SSI program such as increasing benefit rates, updates income disregard and asset limits, and repeals a variety of penalties.

What are the right ingredients for the recovery and infrastructure packages?
The American Rescue Plan Act became law in March 2021, but yet to be determined is the legislation that will emerge from the Biden proposals the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. There are many discussions as to all the ingredients that will go into making these laws, such as the continued expansion of access to Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS); investment in caregiving workforce; childcare and education from birth through college; integrated employment; and modernization of physical and virtual infrastructures.
Want to suggest some ingredients or discuss how the recovery and infrastructure packages should be mixed just right to help children and youth with health care needs and disabilities and their families?

Educate your members of Congress! What do HCBS, recovery, and infrastructure mean to you, and why should Congress care? Remember that not everyone on the Hill has the in-depth understanding, knowledge, and lived experience that YOU do regarding the need for expanded HCBS or integrated employment. Share and educate!

  • Use this tool to find your member of Congress, or
  • Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (tty), and ask to be connected to your Senators and Representative. 

If you have to leave a message, do so! Share and educate!
$$$ for the cooking?
Implementation of policy requires money; have to pay for the ingredients and the persons and programs who will do the careful measuring, stirring, and cooking.

Developing the budget occurs in phases. The Congressional Appropriations process is a bit delayed this year, as COVID response consumed most of their time this Spring. On May 28, President Biden formally released a proposed budget, along with this Budget Fact Sheet.

The Biden budget does not include any new health spending, so you can look to the HHS Budget in Brief for a detailed overview of health spending proposals within HHS agencies, including MCHB. The document anticipates $570 billion in mandatory federal Medicaid spending in FY2022, an increase of $49.5 billion. It also includes the $400 billion investment in Medicaid HCBS services included in the President’s American Jobs Act proposal. The budget affirms the Administration’s support for permanently lifting the Medicaid funding caps for the U.S. territories and applying the normal federal match calculation to the territories.

House and Senate appropriators will take this information, as well as those requests submitted by congressional lawmakers, and try to markup bills as early as this week with the goal of passing FY2022 appropriations bills prior to the August recess.

Some are speculating that the budget process may slow even more as Congress discusses the ingredients of the recovery and infrastructure packages. However, others speculate that “earmarks” could return and perhaps speed the process up. 
Still on the Menu: the Affordable Care Act
On June 17, the Supreme Court handed down a 7-2 decision upholding the Affordable Care Act.

HHS Secretary Becerra’s response to the decision expressed relief for those with disabilities and pre-existing conditions and underscored that health should be a right, not a privilege.
A La Carte Menu: information and resources of considerable note
HHS Creates Hotline to Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Access for People with Disabilities
On June 8, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the creation of the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL), a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Administration for Community Living aimed at assisting individuals with disabilities in finding COVID-19 vaccine appointments and connecting to local services to support successful vaccination.

More information is available here. DIAL is available from 9:00 am– 8:00 pm ET Monday through Friday at 888-677-1199.

National Center on Disability in Public Health has launched an initiative to confront vaccine hesitancy in the disability community by facilitating COVID-19 vaccine conversations, identifying barriers to vaccine access, and increasing vaccine confidence.
Medicaid and CHIP
This Kaiser Family Foundation Data note indicates that while Medicaid and CHIP did see declining enrollment numbers prior to the pandemic, those numbers have now increased and are expected to continue to do so as States emerge from the pandemic. 
Proposed Core Competencies for Entry-level Respite Professionals
The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center and the Respite Care Association of Wisconsin are seeking input on Proposed Core Competencies for Entry-level Respite Professionals. Access the short survey and provide your comments here by June 28, 2021. 
Lessons from the Pandemic
COVID-19 has taught us difficult lessons about our nation's preparedness and resilience. Now, a new question looms large: how will we handle the next pandemic? The National Homeland Security Consortium has released a robust after-action report, featuring over 90 recommendations for improving our pandemic readiness
A blog to sink your teeth into
Preventing Harm from Automated Decisionmaking Systems in Medicaid by Elizabeth Edwards of National Health Law Program (NHELP)
Grab a drink and snack and join these Webinars of Interest
COVID-19 Vaccination and Children - Answering Parents’ Questions
Wednesday, June 23, 1:00-2:00 pm ET | Register here
Moderator Lisa Waddell, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer of the CDC Foundation, with featured guests Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the CDC, and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, will share insights and answer questions on communicating effectively about children and COVID-19 vaccinations. After you register, you can submit questions in advance.
Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy Among Direct Service Workers
Thursday, July 1, 2021, 3:00 - 4:30 pm ET | Register here
Vaccine uptake among direct service workers (DSWs) is particularly important for personal health and safety and to the many individuals that DSWs support, due to the high contact, personal nature of home care. However, DSWs experience many barriers to vaccination including culturally competent and accessible information, paid sick leave and/or time off, and transportation.

In this webinar, experts in the field will discuss demographics of the DSW workforce, barriers to vaccination, strategies to increase vaccine confidence and uptake, and promising practices. Panelists Include Cory Nourie, Director of Community Services, Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services, Ramu Iyer, National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals Advisory Council Member, Robert Espinoza, Vice President of Policy, PHI, and Trudy Rebert, Federal Policy Counsel, National Domestic Workers Alliance.
Not subscribed to the Washington Update? SIGN UP HERE

Thank you for subscribing to the Washington DC Update newsletter. Please feel free to contact the Family Voices Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Cara Coleman, with any questions. Past issues of the Update appear on the Family Voices website. If you wish to unsubscribe, you can do so via the "Unsubscribe" link below.

Family Voices is a national organization and grassroots network of families and friends of children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities that promotes partnership with families--including those of cultural, linguistic and geographic diversity--in order to improve healthcare services and policies for children.