This Week in Public Policy - February 7 - 11, 2022

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 paul.jarvis@dodd.ohio.gov.


In Ohio

On Tuesday, February 8th, 2022, the Senate Judiciary Committee held ALL Testimony on Senate Bill 202 (Prohibit Disability Used to Deny Guardianship). The bill would prohibit a court from basing a decision on guardianship, visitation, custody and other rulings on a person’s disability. Senator Nathan Manning indicated that an amendment was being worked on and would be considered at a future date. There were no witnesses present to testify on the bill.

On Wednesday, February 9th, 2022, the Senate Health Committee held ALL Testimony on House Bill 281 (Derogatory Language). The bill would remove terms that are derogatory to individuals with disabilities or who have mental conditions from statute. Written testimony was submitted by 8 people or organizations, and oral testimony was given by six. All testimony can be found on the committee’s website.

On Thursday, February 10, 2022, the Office of Budget and Management released the January 2022 financial report, reporting that overall tax revenues continue to exceed expectations. Non-auto tax revenues, personal income tax revenues and Commercial Activity Tax revenues all exceed expectations, and for the state fiscal year, the state has collected $816 more in tax revenues than estimated. However, disbursements for the month exceeded estimates too, with the bulk of the overage resulting from Medicaid spending ($500 million). The report indicates this overage is the result of an extension of the federal health emergency through April 2022, delaying eligibility redeterminations past the expected expiration date. As a result, more people are eligible for Medicaid resulting in more spending. The extension of the public health emergency is accompanied by a 6.2% increase in federal Medicaid funds also.

In Washington

On Thursday, February 10th, 2022, the Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing to examine improving care experiences for people with both Medicare and Medicaid. Witnesses who testified were: Dr. Jose Figueroa (Harvard Medical School); Eunice Medina (South Caroline Department of Health & Human Services); Dennis Heaphy (Disability Policy Consortium); and Jane Doyle (representing herself). Highlights from the testimony included:

  • When we examined persistently high-cost dual eligible patients (i.e. those in the top 10% of spending across both Medicare and Medicaid over a 3-year period between 2010 and 2012), we found that young dual-eligible beneficiaries with disability spent over $160,000 per year; of which 70% of costs were related to long-term care services, while very little was related to potentially avoidable hospitalizations (<1% of total spending). – Figueroa
  • I ask you to do whatever you can to ease the burdens people like me and my mother have faced. While these programs are important, they are not easy to use. To make these programs actually work, it needs to be much easier for people like my mother to enroll and for people like me to find care. – Doyle
  • I am not exaggerating when I say that this integrated care model not only kept me out of a long-term nursing facility, One Care also kept me alive. Designing and implementing an integrated program and making sure that it continues to meet enrollees’ needs are two different things. Even in One Care, things have started changing. It is increasingly challenging for me and others to know how to navigate the lines of communication, to know which care team members are responsible for what, or even the composition of the care team. - Heaphy

NEXT Week in Public Policy: February 14 - 18, 2022

In Ohio

On Tuesday, February 15th, 2022, the House Health Committee will hold PROPONENT Testimony on House Bill 50 (Medical Identifying Devices). The bill renames the “Uniform Duties to Disabled Persons Act” to the “Uniform Duties to Incapacitated Persons Act” and makes changes to include devices that have bar codes or quick response codes and authorizes medical personnel to scan the devices under certain circumstances to obtain the wearers medical information. The bill changes references to a “disabled person” to more accurately identify individuals who are unconscious or incapacitated.  The hearing takes place at 11:00 a.m. in Room 121 of the Ohio Statehouse.

On Thursday, February 17, 2022, the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee will meet to receive an update from Ohio Department of Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran. The hearing is scheduled to take place at 9:00 a.m. in the Senate Finance Hearing Room.

In Washington

No disability-specific hearings have been announced at this time.


Facts That May Only Interest Me

The American Gaming Association estimates more than 30 million Americans will place a wager on the Super Bowl this weekend. With all bets, legal and off-book, the AGA estimates nearly $8 billion will be wagered worldwide. The National Chicken Council claims that chicken wings are the most eaten food for the big game, with Americans consuming more than 100 million pounds, or roughly 1.25 billion wings. For last year’s game, it was reported that Domino’s Pizza was the pizza chain of choice, with consumers chowing down on 11 million slices. The most popular time that people ordered a pizza was approximately 1 hour before kickoff.