The Arc of Tennessee ®
The Arc’s network of national, state and local chapters impacts public policy at all levels. Through our advocacy and grassroots mobilization, The Arc Tennessee works to protect the civil rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.
The Disability Advocacy Network
Federal Government & Federal Legislation
The new administration has wasted no time working towards a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new federal bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) includes significant cuts to the Medicaid program by means of per capita caps. To learn more about per capita caps and block grants, click HERE. Not only would these Medicaid cuts impact basic healthcare provided to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), they will also impact long term services and supports (LTSS) through the DIDD Waivers, the ECF CHOICES program and the CHOICES program.
We need your help to take action now! Remember every call matters! What to do:
What to Say:
Message: Do NOT cut and cap Medicaid!
Medicaid (TennCare in Tennessee) is a jointly funded program with matching state and federal funds. Under a Medicaid per capita cap, the federal government would set a limit on how much to reimburse states based on enrollment in the Medicaid (TennCare) program. Unlike current law, funding would not be based on the actual cost of providing services. Much like the proposed block grants, the intent of the per capita caps is to restructure the program and save the federal government money. Inevitably there will be cuts in funding in Tennessee. The negative impacts to Medicaid (TennCare) recipients could include:
For additional information, see CCD’s fact sheet about Medicaid.
Additional resources are listed below:
January 20, 2017 ushers in a new President and a new Administration. Many early proposals put forth by the new Administration could have negative consequences for people with I/DD and their families. The Arc is concerned that thousands of people with I/DD could lose critical health care benefits if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed without a suitable replacement; that converting the Medicaid (TennCare in Tennessee) program to block grant funding or per capita caps could result in significant cuts to health care and long term services and supports that people with I/DD depend upon for optimal quality of life; and that the civils rights of people with I/DD protected under laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) could get chipped away. To learn more about these issues, click the links below:
Medicaid: The Outlook in 2017: Cuts, Block Grants or Per Capita Caps?
The needs of people with I/DD and their families must be considered when passing or changing any law, or developing or changing any program that could impact their quality of life. People with I/DD have the same rights as every other citizen. To learn more about other public policy issues important to people with I/DD and their families, visit The Arc US website Public Policy and Legal Advocacy page.
State Government & State Legislation
The 110th General Assembly is in session.
To keep up with the activities of the Tennessee General Assembly, visit http://www.capitol.tn.gov/. To find your legislators, visit http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/Apps/fml/districts.aspx.
The Reliable Coverage Act HB960/SB991 will prevent non-medical switching of prescription drugs by insurance plans during a plan year. Passage of this law would mean that the covered drug formulary that an insurance plan offers at the beginning of a plan year must remain in effect the entire plan year. For many people who take medication to manage chronic conditions such as epilepsy, mental health diagnoses, diabetes, etc., this means more consistency for managing your health conditions. Below is information on this legislation:
The Arc TN Legislative Weekly Update on Bills Tracked:
Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) Weekly Policy Watch:
March 17, 2017 [.pdf]
The Arc Tennessee and Disability Rights Tennessee track bills that may impact people with disabilities. Weekly updates will begin January 27, 2017 and are available below. In addition, The Arc Tennessee hosts a weekly update conference call every Friday morning at 8:30am central time during legislative session beginning January 27, 2017. If you would like to be added to the list to receive the weekly updates and to receive conference call information, please contact Carrie Hobbs Guiden.
Other State News
Enrollment for the new ECF CHOICES Program is open for people with intellectual disability (ID) and people with developmental disabilities (DD) other than ID. To start the process for determining eligibility, simply complete a self-referral form. There are three (3) ways to accomplish this task:
If you were previously on the DIDD Waiting List for Medicaid Waiver services, you were automatically transferred to the new referral list for the ECF CHOICES Waiver. However, to be considered for enrollment into the program now, you must complete the self-referral form.
Your involvement in public policy advocacy is key to protecting and furthering the rights of people with I/DD and their families and there are many ways you can make a difference. Below are just a few of your options:
To learn more, access our Webinar Series – The Power of Public Policy Advocacy:
Contact Carrie Hobbs Guiden for more information on how to get involved in public policy advocacy with The Arc.
Kindred Stories is a joint project between Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and The Arc Tennessee that shares individual and family stories on topics of importance. These collections of stories are shared with state and federal elected officials and others. To read these stories, visit http://vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/vkc/resources/kindred/.
To download the latest issue "Access to Health Care" click HERE.
Share your story here: http://vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/kindredstories/
Disability Policy Alliance
The Arc Tennessee participates in the Disability Policy Alliance (DPA), a public policy advocacy collaborative that also includes the Council on Developmental Disabilities, Disability Rights Tennessee and the Statewide Independent Living Council. To learn more about DPA, visit http://www.fulfillthepromise.org/.