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In recent news...

Major developments and their effect on developmental services, and what they mean

Republicans continue to advance plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, or "Obamacare"), including a new one from several party leaders, but don't have a formal bill yet. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have proposed new rules related to the ACA, the first official steps they have taken under the Trump administration. There remains concern over the Administration's commitment to special education. And Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R - Bakersfield) continues to be an important figure.

ACA Replacements
Several Republicans have jointly released the "Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment" (CARE) Act, a self-described blueprint for healthcare. As with other proposals, it would end minimum coverage requirements ("essential health benefits"), curtail the ACA's Medicaid expansion, and convert Medicaid to a per-capita funding system.

Last week House Republicans held a private meeting to review various á la carte proposals being considered for repeal/replace legislation. No final agreement was reached. Significantly, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told attendees that the House, not the President, would be taking the lead in this process. This diverges from previous statements from Trump, who said the White House would unveil its own plan after Price was confirmed.

While no formal plan has been released, it is important to recognize that there is a very consistent theme in these ideas - reduced funding for Medicaid.

New CMS Rule
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have released the draft of new regulations ("proposed a rule") changing the way people access ACA coverage. It would cut the enrollment period from 90 to 45 days (November 1st through December 15th), and add verification requirements for people who want to get coverage at other times of the year ("special enrollment"). It also adjusts the range on what is called the "actuarial values," a change that would ultimately reduce tax credits for people trying to buy coverage on their own.

These changes, if approved, would give people less time to enroll in a health plan, provide less of a subsidy for many applicants, and add extra steps if they don't enroll at the right time.

Here's an IDEA...

The IDEA webpage, within the Department of Education's website, recently disappeared. It has since been brought back online. Two Democratic Senators are pushing for details on this outage. Separately, a national survey of school district leaders finds a widespread concern about cuts to Medicaid. Cuts would lead to layoffs, more uninsured children.

IDEA is a critical part of the education system's services for students with disabilities. And Medicaid cuts, a common part of Republican healthcare proposals, would disproportionately impact students in special education unless specific protections were created.

Names To Know
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is many things. He is a Republican leader in the House, assuring he will be a key player in changes to healthcare. He is a long-standing ally of Donald Trump, assuring he will be a key player in changes to healthcare. And he represents California's 23rd Congressional District, covering Bakersfield and eastern Tulare County (Porterville), assuring his constituents can be key advocates in changes to healthcare.

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