OCTOBER 10, 1997 .........................................................................NUMBER 63
NEW STATE CHILD HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAMS
Beginning on the 1st of October, $4 billion in annual federal funds under the new Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Title 21 of the Social Security Act, are available to states by application. The program requires a state to provide health insurance for uninsured children in working families.
On the 30th of September, the Children's Defense Fund completed the first survey of how 30 states are establishing the Child Health Insurance Program. These 30 states represent 84 percent of the uninsured children in the country. The survey is providing the first complete glimpse of how states are moving toward implementing this new health insurance program. The survey has identified some interesting trends:
Some states have adopted, or are proposing, substantial early expansions of already existing health coverage insurance. The states expanding affordable, comprehensive insurance under existing "Medicaid" coverage are Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin. Idaho is implementing a Medicaid expansion this month with a committee to explore long-term options. Connecticut and New Jersey are proposing to "combine Medicaid with a new state plan" for children. Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia have "established advisory work" groups to recommend approaches or options for families with incomes above the existing Medicaid levels.
A few states have begun "brand new programs for children." California has signed into law a new program which begins the 1st of July. Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, and Utah are proposing or developing new programs. Pennsylvania is planning to expand their existing non-Medicaid program.
Some states such as Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and New York have not publicly announced policies to implement the new child health insurance program in their states. These are four of the ten states with the largest number of uninsured children. Florida and New York have already adopted child health programs prior to the passage of the new law. Discussions may be happening in these states outside the legislature or governor's offices.
States differ in whether or not they plan to help the largest "possible" number of uninsured children. California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Utah have specific proposals to cover as many children under the new law as possible. Generally this is uninsured children from families with incomes below $26,000 for a family of three. This equates to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Others such as Colorado, Idaho, Ohio, South Carolina, and Wisconsin have so far announced plans to help only some uninsured children. As more information becomes available on CHIP, the FRIDAY FAX will be forwarding it to you. Now is the time to find out what is happening in your state and what it will mean to you and your family. We applaud those states who are moving forward early to cover as many uninsured children as possible with comprehensive benefits (including preventive wellness plans) and affordable health coverage. Every child deserves a "Bright Future."
CONGRESS AT A GLANCE
We need the highest level of funding for IDEA. Everyone who worked for the passage of IDEA agreed on one item: BETTER FUNDING FOR IDEA! Tell the Conferees to:
1) Take the Senate numbers to fund IDEA; and
2) Oppose the Rigg's Amendment.
Your help is needed and appreciated!
DD INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIPS AVAILABLE
The Rosemary F. Dywad International Fellowship Trust, Inc. announced the 1998 International Fellowship Program. Applications are due March 1, 1998.
Individuals of any country who are building careers in the area of developmental disabilities and interested in a cross cultural learning experience to further their specific program area, should apply. Applications can be obtained from NPND.
The Department of Education has announced seven meetings around the country to obtain public input on the anticipated Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to implement the statutory requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997. The NPRM has not been published but is anticipated before the meetings. If the NPRM is not published by the time meetings are held, the event (s) will be used as an opportunity to receive public comment on how to implement the statutory provisions of IDEA '97.
The complete IDEA '97 can be found on the NPND website.
If you are not able to attend the meetings, written responses are invited to be sent to Thomas Irvin, Office Of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, US Department of Education, Room 4607, 330 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20202 or via fax at (202) 260-0416.
The written responses must be received no later than 90 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register. Remarks should reference specific section(s) to which you are commenting.
To make a statement at the public meetings you will need to sign-up and will be given approximately 4 minutes. If all the time slots are filled, it is anticipated a limited amount of time will be made to accommodate individuals at the end of the session. Comments can raise concerns, express support, and/or provide recommendation(s) for specific regulatory application.
Last week the Friday Fax presented information on the these meetings. This week we are providing more inclusive details. Any individual who will need accommodations for a disability in order to participate in the meeting (e.g., interpreting services, assistive listening devised, materials in alternative format, etc.) need to contact Laura Black Price at (202) 205-8969(voice), (202) 205-5465(TDD), or fax at (202) 260-0416. Requests should be made two (2) weeks in advance of the specific meeting date to guarantee availability. Requests received less than two weeks can not be guaranteed.
A number of sleeping rooms have been reserved on a first come basis by the Department of Education at low government per deim rates. All costs for a room will be paid for by the participant. To reserve a room at these rates, you must inform the hotel that you are attending the "regional meeting of the US Department of Education" and make the reservation prior to the reservation cut-off date. Following are the location, dates, and time of meetings:
Remember the final IDEA '97 regulations are not expected to be finalized until April 1998. OSEP is meeting with each state's Implementation Team to assist them in the development of an agreement and public input will be sought. Once that process is complete, the Implementation Agreement will be formalized and executed.
Parents and advocates should check with their State Departments of Education to find out who will be on the Implementation Team, when the OSEP representative will visit, and when and how public input will be sought.
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) visits for reviewing state implementation plans for 97-98 are:State Visits.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Gene Mitchner is back entertaining and spinning his raillery. Poking fun at himself, Gene is using "wheelchair" humor and motivational messages to reach and touch his audiences. Many of us met Gene at the IDEA Hill Rally in the Summer of 1995 and enjoyed his bright, light outlook on life. It is hard to believe the IDEA battle has been going on that long.
Gene has had a long battle with his health that has kept him from performing for almost that long. He is again charming audiences. If you want to add your good wishes to ours, you can reach him at: ROLLING PRODUCTIONS, 5807 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Suite G309, Woodland Hills, CA 91367 or (818) 999-4623.
Welcome back and best wishes!
CFC IS ON!
The Combined Federal Campaign is under way. The Friday Fax is one of the programs of NPND that is supported in part by CFC funding. If you would like to consider the National Parent Network on Disabilities, the number is 1532.
THE FRIDAY FAX IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY
THE NATIONAL PARENT NETWORK ON DISABILITIES