Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday's Quick Hits: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:

Monday, January 28, 2008
House Select Committee on Adoptee Birth Certificates
2:00PM 544 LOB
The issue of access to adoptee birth certificates was a little talked about policy issue during the long session. This is the first committee meeting regarding this issue since the break.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Dropout Prevention:
Dropout Prevention and High School Graduation, Joint Legislative
10:00AM 643 LOB
Dropout Prevention has been a topic in the media and in the Education Oversight Committee. The current four year graduation rate for children with disabilities stands at 48.4%. This is the lowest graduation rate among all tracked groups including Hispanic students and African American students. How our state addresses dropouts will continue to be a hot topic through the break and into the short session.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Gang Prevention:
House Select Committee on Street Gang Prevention
10:00AM 1228/1327 LB
This will be the second meeting of this group since the end of the long session. This committees work will probably overlap with the work of other juvenile justice committees.

Public School Funding Formulas, Joint Legislative Study Committee
11:00 AM 643 LOB
This will be the second meeting of this committee since the break. Public School Funding will be important to low economic performing counties.

Thursday, January 31, 2008
Business Development:
DOT Disadvantaged Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses Program, Joint Legislative Commission
10:00AM 544 LOB
We will be monitoring this committee as we continue to encourage our state officials to consider people with disabilities as they create economic development packages.

Public School Funding Formulas, Joint Legislative Study Committee
10:00AM 643 LOB
(See above)


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced an economic stimulus package that, much to the disappointment of Medicaid advocates, does not include an increase in the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP – the federal share of Medicaid spending). The agreement includes tax rebates for middle and low income individuals and business tax credits. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ceded negotiating authority with the Bush Administration to the House believing that a package could be developed more quickly. However, Majority Leader Reid later said that the Senate could improve on the House package. The National Governors Association, and other Medicaid stakeholders including organizations representing people with disabilities, children, seniors, unions, and health and long term services providers had been advocating for a temporary increase in the federal Medicaid match as a means of assisting states and Medicaid beneficiaries during an expected economic downturn when many states are already being forced to make cuts to their Medicaid programs. The Bush Administration, along with many Congressional Republicans, does not support a temporary FMAP increase.


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on January 18 that would allow more Medicaid beneficiaries to be in charge of their own personal assistance services, including personal care services, instead of having those services delivered by an agency. CMS requests public comment on how states could allow Medicaid beneficiaries who need help with the activities of daily living to hire, direct, train or fire their own personal care workers, including family members. The proposal would put into place a provision of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 that allows states to elect a state plan option to provide care in ways that previously required “waivers” of previous Medicaid laws. Enrollment in the new state plan option is voluntary for individuals and the state must also provide traditional agency-delivered services if the beneficiary wishes to discontinue self-directed care. There is a 30-day comment period; comments are due February 19, 2008. See the proposed rule at:

Special thanks to DPC for the Federal Update Information.

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