March 13, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


"Lions and tigers and bears. Oh My!" said Dorothy in the Wizard.  T he news for our community this week is "Healthcare, HUD and the RIDE. Oh Sh%$!"

Unfortunately, the news this week is potentially devastating.  We are going to need the strength of your advocacy in the coming weeks.

Some good news is we have a couple of good training opportunities for you; one is on emergency preparedness, the other on digital accessibility.
Even though the news is ugly, a s always  happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Health Care Update:  ACA Repeal Bill Released

The American Health Care Act (ACHA) was released this week.  House leaders wasted little time as the bill has already cleared two House Committees even though the program has not yet been vetted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  The CBO could release their projections, as early as today, on how much the legislation will cost and how many would lose health care coverage.

We are sharing with you several articles from around the web.   The bill is a disaster for people with disabilities.

As we had speculated the bill as proposed would cap medicaid and lower payments to the states over time.

Most of all, the bill would eliminate funding to help consumers pay for premiums, deductibles and co-pays by replacing them with tax credits and savings accounts.

The good news, well, wealthy Americans would save $600 billion dollars.
Net News: People with Autism and ID Fight Bias in Transplants 

Every few years a new story about this issue makes the rounds in the media and then disappears.  An article in the Washington Post is once again highlighting the fact that people with disabilities are routinely denied life-saving transplants based on faulty judgments about the quality or value of their lives.  You can read more here.
Community News: Elimination of Premium RIDE Service Back on the Chopping Block  

Today (Monday, March 13th) the Financial and Management Control  Board (FMCB) of the MBTA will be presented with several possible ways of closing a potential $42 million deficit in the fiscal year 2018 budget.  One of the likely measures to be presented will include a one year suspension of the RIDE'S premium service area.  A vote would probably take place in one month. 

Obviously, this would be very bad news.  It is rather curious that the Governor has held two press conferences touting measures his administration has taken to lower RIDE costs.  This proposal was not one he touted.  Peculiar!  Huh?

Stay tuned.
Net News: Chopping HUD to Pay for Military

According to The Washington Post and other news outlets, the Trump Administration is considering cutting the budget for the Housing and Development by $5.6 billion dollars.  The money may be needed for a proposed $54 billion dollar increase in defense spending.  The cut would represent a cut of nearly 15% to HUD.

Learning Opportunity:  Digital Accessibility Legal Update 

Anyone who follows digital accessibility knows of Lainey Fiengold.  She recently composed an update on the issues.  Here is a link to her blog post, and here is a link to a recent presentation she did.
Learning Opportunity: FEMA Promising Practices - Engaging Leadership   

The Pacific ADA Center conducted a training recently about best practices in emergency preparedness and people with disabilities.  The entire workshop is available on the internet including video, audio, CART Transcript and Power Point slides.  It is a great opportunity to bring yourself up to speed on the issue. You can access the treasure trove here.  
Calendar:  One Care Information Sessions 

Drop by to talk one-on-one with MassHealth, Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA), and Tufts Health Plan (Middlesex County only) representatives about One Care.

Middlesex County:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Community Teamwork (CTI) Resource Center
17 Kirk Street
Lowell, MA 01852

Hampden County:

Thursday, March 23, 2017
8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Friends of the Homeless Resource Center/Shelter
755 Worthington St.
Springfield, MA 01105

See the enclosed " How to Get There" flyer for directions, or in Spanish to the information sessions.  For more information about these events, call Maggie at 617-886-8246 or email us at:
Calendar:  Museum of Science Community Partner's Day  

When:  Saturday, March 18, 2017 from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M.

Where:  Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114

The brain is perhaps the most important part of the human body; it is the control tower sitting at the top, sending important messages to ensure that everything functions. It is also a mystery that experts are beginning to unlock thanks to continually evolving technology. Explore this relationship between the brain and technology with scientists and engineers in the field, hands-on activities, and an opportunity to touch a real brain!

Gain insight from a whole host of activities and speakers, such as technology for brain mapping (fMRI) and other related concepts.

ACCESSIBILITY: For information or accommodation requests: 617-589-3102,, ASL interpreters will be available for this event. Please request an ASL interpreter in your invitation reply.
Calendar:  American Sign Language Classes 

When:  Wednesday evenings, April 12, 2017 to June 14, 2017 (10 weeks), 6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.

Class is ASL Level I
  • Open to 18 and over
  • Taught by Deaf Instructor
  • Learn about Deaf Culture Too

Class is $200 not including instructional materials.

Classes require a minimal enrollment of six students.


Deadline to register is April 5, 2017.


For more information please contact:  Joan Philip, Center for Living and Working, 484 Main Street, Suite 345, Worcester, MA 01608.


Voice/TTY: 508 755-1003

Video Phone: 508 762-1164


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