Capitol Correspondence - 10.17.23

White House and Congressional Leaders Address Disability Access at 2023 Policy Summit

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Last week, the 2023 Policy Summit was the largest summit ever hosted by ANCOR. The Policy Summit brought together more than 240 members from across the nation. The event marked a significant moment for the advocacy and support of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

One of the highlights of the summit was a comprehensive review of a year of impactful advocacy efforts. ANCOR celebrated a major milestone with the successful markup and unanimous passage of the SOC Bill (S. 1332, Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act) in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. This achievement underscores ANCOR’s dedication to advancing the rights and welfare of those with disabilities.

Policy Summit participants were reminded of the proactive engagement of ANCOR members in advocacy—as ANCOR members contributed nearly half of all comments submitted to CMS on the proposed Access Rule (Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services). Impressively, ANCOR members also rallied more than 13,000 new advocates to take action on ANCOR policy initiatives in the past year.

The summit saw many notable guests including Rachel Patterson from the White House Domestic Policy Council, who engaged attendees in a thought-provoking morning keynote session about how the administration has focused on promoting disability rights and how the White House is working to address concerns about access for individuals with disabilities. Key points raised by members included the need for better oversight over reimbursement rates and ensuring federal agencies align to prevent service delivery expenses from rising without commensurate payment increases.

Jake Sherman, the Co-Founder & CEO of Punchbowl News, provided valuable analysis and predictions on a range of topics, from presidential primaries to the government’s ability to prevent a shutdown at the end of the continuing resolution in November.

The summit also featured senior staff from the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee and U.S. Senate Finance Committee, representing both sides of the aisle. They expressed a shared interest in supporting community-based services and discussed the importance of bipartisanship for addressing common policy initiatives.

Alison Barkoff, ACL’s Principal Deputy Administrator, and Melissa Harris, CMS Deputy Director for the Medicaid Benefits and Health Programs Group, provided essential updates and insights from the primary federal agencies overseeing long-term services and supports.

Recognizing excellence in public policy, the summit presented awards to outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions:

  • Congressional Legacy Award: Senator Margaret Hassan (D-NH)
  • Suellen Galbraith Award for Excellence in Public Policy: Josh Rael and Ralph Lollar (accepted by Melissa Harris)
  • Diane McComb State Association Star Award: Laura Howell
  • Bonnie-Jean Brooks Rising Star Award: Darlene Scott and Cheryl Wicks
  • Grassroots Star Award: Laura Cordes and Michael Seereiter