This Week in Public Policy - December 31, 2018 - January 4, 2019

This Week in Public Policy provides a summary of policy and legislation in Ohio and at the federal level that is of interest to people with disabilities.

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Click here to read previous week's updates.

In Ohio

On Monday, December 31, 2018, the Legislature sent House Bill 300 (Identification Expiration Date) to the Governor for signature.

On Wednesday, January 2, 2019, the Ohio Technology First Council issued their report and recommendations to Governor John Kasich. Included in the report are benchmarks to increase the number of individuals who are eligible and approved for remote supports and other technologies that improve independence and self-sufficiency. 

On Thursday, January 3, 2019, the Ohio Olmstead Task Force announced a new survey to obtain individual feedback on the direct support workforce in long-term services and supports. The feedback received from the survey will help guide OOTF’s advocacy efforts on the issue. 

On Thursday, Governor-elect Mike DeWine named additional Cabinet appointments, including an announcement that current director of the Opportunity for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency, Kevin Miller, will be returning in that role. To date, Miller is the only cabinet official who is carrying over from the current administration. Congratulations to Director Miller! The full, updated list (latest appointments are highlighted in bold):

  • Adjutant General – John Harris
  • Administrative Services – Matthew Damschroder
  • Aging
  • Agriculture
  • Budget and Management – Kimberly Murnieks
  • Commerce – Sheryl Maxfield
  • Development Services Agency – Lydia Mihalik
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Health
  • Higher Education
  • Insurance
  • Job and Family Services
  • Medicaid
  • Mental Health and Addiction Services
  • Natural Resources – Mary Mertz
  • Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities – Kevin Miller
  • Public Safety – Thomas Stickrath
  • Public Utilities
  • Rehab and Corrections – Annette Chambers-Smith
  • Taxation – Jeff McClain
  • Transportation
  • Veterans Services
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Youth Services

In Washington

On Thursday, Congresswomen Rosa Delauro (D-CT) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) released an outline of their Medicare for All proposal, which would enroll every American into Medicare (employer sponsored plans that meet minimum standards would remain for employees, who can pick either Medicare for All or their employer sponsored plan), regardless of their age. Premiums would be capped at 9.69% of an individual or household’s income. The program would also be paid for by sunsetting the most recent tax cuts and by imposing additional taxes (5% surtax on income above $500,000) and increasing the current Medicare payroll tax, increasing or imposing taxes on tobacco, beer, wine and liquor and any drink with sugar in it. States would also be “charged” through maintenance of effort payments, with states that have already expanded Medicaid paying a smaller payment than those that did not (this discount is only good for 10 years).

On Thursday, January 3, 2019, the Medicare Access for Patients Rx released an analysis of Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit of Medicare. The report identifies challenges such as increased out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and specialized services and reduced or more narrow formularies for individuals participating in the low-income program. 

On Friday, January 4, 2019, current director of the Centers for Medicaid and CHIP services, Mary Mayhew, resigned her position after only 3 months in order to work for Governor-elect Ron DeSantis in Florida.

NEXT Week in Public Policy - January 7 - 11, 2019

In Ohio

On Monday, January 7, 2019, the 133rd General Assembly will convene. The Senate is set to open its first Session at 1:30 p.m. and the House is schedule to open its first Session at 2 p.m. Palace intrigue continues to abound about who the next Speaker of the House will be, with two factions in the majority refusing to budge on any single candidate. 

On Wednesday, January 9, 2019, the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Council will meet in the Hellen Keller Conference Room (3rd Floor) at 150 E. Campus View Blvd. No agenda has been posted as of this update.

In Washington

No pertinent updates available at this time.