Rights & Access
New Hampshire – (Union Leader, 08/04/19) A recent study by the state’s Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau, , cites a 13.4% growth in the employment of people with disabilities from the 2009-11 study versus the 2017-19 study. This is compared to a 2.9% employment growth rate among non-disabled workers. Bureau Director Brian Gottlob attributes the growth to a tight labor market prompting employers to look to employees that previously had more difficulty finding employment. He states, “I think it creates opportunities for the disabled that might not have been as prevalent in the past.”
Medicaid, Medicaid expansion, MLTSS
Florida - (WUSF Public Media, 08/10/19) The group Florida Decides Healthcare has decided to push back the target date to have Medicaid expansion on the ballot as a voter initiative from 2020 to 2022. “Dan Newman, a spokesman for the committee, said in a prepared statement Friday that changes made by the Legislature this year ‘created confusion and uncertainty in the funding community’ leading to the decision to wait until 2022. Those legislative changes, in part, made it more difficult to meet petition-signature requirements for citizens’ initiatives.”
Idaho – (The Seattle Times, 08/09/19) Lawmakers in Idaho are grappling with how to pay for the voter approved Medicaid expansion. Earlier this year, the legislature passed a number of “sideboards” to the initiative which would impose work requirements, hurdles for accessing family planning care and other items. This proposal is awaiting review from CMS. Other financing strategies include tapping into the rainy-day fund, use of the 2000 tobacco settlement funds and shifting money from the Catastrophic Health Care fund which is used to support uncompensated health care borne by counties.
Illinois – (WLDS.com, 08/06/19) Governor Pritzker has signed into law a bill that will overhaul the state’s Medicaid system. The law requires a prompt response to applications, provides re-determinations and payments to providers and decreases the number of denials. The initiative is one of the biggest cross-department efforts in the state’s history and will expand access by eliminating the application backlog that is in excess of 120,000 people.
Louisiana – (ASPPH.org, 08/08/19) A recent study issued by Tulane University found that Medicaid expansion improved access to care for Louisianans. The study cites that among the “newly-eligible” population (all adults earning up to 138% of FPL) those reporting they were unable to see a doctor due to cost fell by 26.6%; those who reported not taking medication due to cost fell by 66.4%; and emergency department visits per 1,000 enrollees fell by 22%
Alaska – (KHNS.org, 08/06/19) Governor Mike Dunleavy has made a number of line-item vetoes in the budget sent to him by the legislature. In particular he vetoed $58 million in Medicaid funding resulting in significant budget cuts for healthcare providers and those serving people with developmental disabilities. The budget is still in limbo as the legislature recently passed House Bill 2001 which seeks to restore much of the funding vetoed by the Governor. Dunleavy has said he will veto those items again should this bill pass.
Georgia – (DOL News Release, 07/18/19) The US Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division has ordered one Georgia service provider to pay $157,473 in back wages to 130 employees for failing to meet Section 14(c) requirements and for violating WIOA. Several instances of the provider having reduced time on the clock in addition to the use of incorrect prevailing wages was cited as the cause of the violations.
National – (DOL News Release, 07/31/19) Acting US Secretary of Labor, Patrick Pizzella sent letters to America’s governors encouraging them to collect data on the number of state employees with disabilities. Currently there are only a few states that routinely collect this data but many states have taken steps to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Secretary Pizzella also encouraged states to utilize the State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED), a federal-state initiative funded by ODEP which provides policy assistance, resources and subject matter expertise on disability employment-related issues.
State Races – New Section to Track State Races over the coming Year.
Missouri – (APnews.com, 08/07/19) Attorney General Jim Hood has won the Democratic nomination for MO Governor. “Hood says Mississippi needs to strengthen public education and improve highways and bridges. He also advocates expanding Medicaid, saying the state is losing billions of federal dollars.”
He will face a Republican challenger to be determined in a run off between Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller, Jr. The November ballot will also host a Constitution Party candidate, Bob Hickingbottom and Independent David Singletary.