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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Take Action on Friday, April 13 to Get the CFC Rules Released!

 

Yes to the CLASS Act 2010 protest signThe CFC rules have moved from CMS to the Office of Management and Budget, but we need to keep the pressure on!

ADAPT and NCIL are asking that disability organizations issue statements on Friday, April 13th urging the Obama Administration to release the CFC final rules. 

A sample media release is available for your use below. You can personalize it as much as you like, but be sure to put your local contact information in the release and attribute quotes to your group before you use it.

It is important to add local specifics, including whether your state has expressed an interest in CFC or any information about the impact CFC would have on your state. We know that Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Kansas are evaluating CFC. Alaska, Maryland, and Washington have all indicated that they will be selecting the CFC Option in the coming year. California and New York have gone a step further and are looking to use CFC funds to address budget shortfalls.

More information on CFC is available at the following links (also available at the ADAPT website):

Read these, and you are as much of an expert on CFC as pretty much anyone! If you take action, please send updates on what’s going on to Bruce Darling, Thea Ervin, and Amber Smock so we can share the information with other folks.

Sample Media Release

For Immediate Release: April 13, 2012

Contact:

LOCAL CONTACT, LOCAL CENTER/GROUP, PHONE NUMBER

Kelly Buckland, National Council on Independent Living, 202-207-0334

Bruce Darling, ADAPT, 585-370-6690

Disability Groups Betrayed by Obama Administration Delay in Releasing Rules

Today, LOCAL GROUP joins disability groups across the country criticizing the Obama Administration for its delay in releasing final rules implementing the Community First Choice (CFC) Option contained in the Affordable Care Act. “The Administration should have released these rules more than six months ago; this delay is outrageous,” said LOCAL CONTACT of LOCAL GROUP.

“We feel betrayed and abandoned by this Administration. Delays by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are costing states millions of dollars, and forcing people with disabilities into institutions against their will.”

After over 20 years of advocacy to create a real alternative to institutionalization, disability rights and aging advocates praised the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which contains several sections promoting home and community-based services and supports. One of the most celebrated sections is the CFC option, a state Medicaid plan amendment that will prevent people from being forced into nursing homes by funding home and community-based services. The CFC option will serve people based on their functional needs, not a particular diagnosis or age. To promote the use of this new option, the Affordable Care Act increased federal Medicaid funding by six percent for states that implement the CFC Option.

While CMS has indicated that states can begin to include the CFC option in their state plans even though the final rules are not in place, the vast majority of states is unwilling to implement a program without the security of those final rules. “We are hearing from all over the country that states are concerned the final rules will be different from the proposed rules; they simply don’t want the risk of implementing a program without knowing what the final rules will look like,” said Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living.

Advocates in many states have argued that the additional federal funds provided by CFC will not only increase the availability of alternatives to institutionalization, but will also offset other cuts in state Medicaid programs. Without these additional federal dollars, states are already planning, or will be more likely to cut existing optional Medicaid home and community-based services. These cuts will force seniors and people with disabilities into unwanted institutionalization in order to obtain the services and supports they need.

OMB has up to 60 days to review the rules, but advocates are also concerned that further delays will bolster arguments for states to cap their Medicaid programs, or for the federal government to block grant Medicaid funds to the states. “We are angry and afraid,” said Rahnee Patrick, an ADAPT Organizer from Chicago. “The Obama Administration is standing in the way of giving people a real alternative to institutionalization, and they are setting up a situation where we will lose ground on even basic Medicaid services – ground we simply can’t afford to lose. OMB needs to release the rules now!”

Later this month, LOCAL GROUP will join disability rights activists from all over the country in Washington DC where they will engage in direct action and civil disobedience to make sure the Administration understands the life-threatening implications of the failure to act on the long overdue rules. “If the Obama Administration doesn’t get the message today and take action, we will have no choice but to bring the message directly to them,” said LOCAL CONTACT.

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