This Week in Public Policy: March 16 - 20, 2020

This Week in Public Policy, written by DD Council staff person Paul Jarvis, provides a summary of policy and legislation in Ohio and at the federal level that is of interest to people with disabilities.

To subscribe to these weekly updates, send an email to Paul Jarvis at

Click here to read previous week's updates.

In Ohio

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, during Governor DeWine’s daily press conference, Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran announced that Ohio Medicaid’s use of telehealth would be temporarily expanded under a directive by the Governor. Corcoran said that online digital evaluations, virtual check-ins, physiologic, occupation, physical and speech therapy monitoring services, and more. She also said the Governor has been working with private health insurers on the issue as well. Lastly, a telehealth call could be used to establish a doctor under the temporary directive.

Interested in hearing what the Governor has to say? His daily CoVid-19 Response Press Conference is held at 2:00 p.m. (may vary on weekends), and can be watched via the Ohio Channel. The Ohio Channel streams the conference on Facebook and on YouTube. To find them, search for the Ohio Channel on Facebook or YouTube.

In Washington

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he will be introducing the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Among several important initiatives included in the stimulus bill, the bill proposes to send all “eligible” adults $1,200, and $500 for each dependent child. Eligible adults are individuals with incomes up to $75,000 ($150,000 for joint tax filers). McConnell admits in his introduction press release that this is a starting point, and could possible change. Congress has already passed two separate CoVid-19 packages, which have been signed by President Trump.

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) has issued an action alert informing people that Congress is considering multiple bills to address the Coronavirus-19 Pandemic. They are reminding folks that unless you speak up, your Congressman may not even be aware of your issues. Their alert recommends individuals with disabilities, family members and stakeholders contact your Congressman to address the following:

Ask that all emergency relief actions include the needs of people with disabilities. Specific talking points include:

  • Protections for the civil rights of people with disabilities, including ensuring they are not forced into institutional settings (where they are also at higher risk) or discriminated against in access to care and treatment
  • Increased federal reimbursement for state Medicaid programs to help states respond to the crisis
  • Include specific dollars to support access to Home and Community Based Services
  • Expand nutrition assistance - increased funding and expanded eligible food items
  • Workforce support, including paid sick leave and paid leave for all workers
  • Support to make sure that online and other learning is accessible and meets the needs of students with disabilities
  • Inclusion of all people with disabilities in emergency income relief, waiving of any asset and program limits that would be impacted

NEXT Week in Public Policy: March 23 - 27, 2020

In Ohio

The Ohio House of Representatives plans to meet to begin work on rescheduling the state’s primary election date. While Governor DeWine has suggested a new date of June 2, 2020 for in-person voting, there is already debate on whether that will be the date the General Assembly settles on. There has not been any guidance, yet, from the Legislature about attending legislative meetings or how members of the general public can participate in the legislative process. However, House and Senate committees have received testimony be video-conference in the past. Additionally, all committee and sessions are broadcast live by the Ohio Channel and also streamed on the Committee’s Home Page.

Facts That May Only Interest Me:  Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was born two weeks after Haley’s Comet reached its closest point to our sun (called “perihelion”) in 1835. Twain, in his autobiography in 1909, stated that he would die when the comet returned in 1910. Clemens passed on April 21, 1910, one day after the 1910 comet reached perihelion. The 1910 comet caused quite a panic because the Earth’s trajectory caused it to travel through the 24-million-mile-long tail of the comet for six hours on May 19, 1910. Wired magazine reports, “While most reporters of the day turned to astronomers to get the facts straight, the yellow press chose to pursue the story in more fanciful ways, helping to fuel the fears of the impressionable that the end of the word was night.”