In the News

RCPA received the following email from the Senate Aging Committee in Washington, DC. Please contact both Senators Casey and Toomey and your Congressman.

“Welcome back to health care by way of a tax bill.

This afternoon both the Senate and the House added to their tax bills a provision to repeal a key component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate to obtain health insurance. Repealing this provision would have significant negative effects for people with disabilities, families of children with disabilities, and those who are aging.

  • Repealing the individual mandate will mean 13.8 million people will lose health care coverage (according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office); hundreds of thousands of those individuals have disabilities).
  • The repeal of the individual mandate will increase health insurance premiums for those purchasing coverage on the exchange by at least 10% per year for the unforeseeable future (also according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office); these premium increases will occur in addition to the increases that are occurring because the executive branch has decided to stop supporting cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments that have driven premiums up by an average of over 20% this year.
  • The repeal of the individual mandate will save approximately $330 billion over ten years that will go toward paying for a cut in corporate taxes and a cut to the tax rate for the most wealthy Americans (according to the CBO).

This new, last minute, major addition to the tax bills will have enormous impact on those with disabilities. In combination with the budget that passed three weeks ago and outlines over $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and over $400 billion in cuts to Medicare, the proposed tax cuts and repeal of key provisions of the ACA will increase demand for Medicaid, decrease the funds available for home and community-based services and supports, and reduce the amount of revenue available to states to pay and support Medicaid.

While the tax bill does not directly cut Medicaid, the actions it takes will have the same or even worse effect on Medicaid and other services and supports for people with disabilities. If the House tax bill were to pass:

  • Deductions for medical expenses could not be used to decrease your taxes;
  • It would eliminate a $2,400 tax credit businesses could get when hiring someone with a disability;
  • It would eliminate a $5,000 tax credit for businesses that make their businesses accessible to people with disabilities;
  • It would eliminate the incentive to contribute to nonprofit agencies that often provide support for people with disabilities and their families; and
  • It would remove a tax credit for companies to develop and manufacture orphan drugs.

The assault on people with disabilities and their families is continuing, this time through a tax bill instead of through a health bill. And this is happening quickly with very little coverage. The Senate Finance Committee will likely vote on this bill Thursday or Friday of THIS week.

You can help by:

  • Contacting your Senators and Representatives and telling them the tax bills being considered are an attack on people with disabilities; and
  • Share this information with friends and family.

Thank you for your continued advocacy. Thank you for working to ensure dignity, independence, and economic sufficiency for people with disabilities.”

Questions, contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director, Government Affairs.

Official Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Portrait

RCPA is proud to announce that one of its own will be heading to Pittsburgh to lead one of Pennsylvania’s most respected human service providers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. COO and IDD Division Director Steve Suroviec will be serving as CEO of ACHIEVA, Inc. starting in January 2018. Suroviec has been with RCPA since August 2016 after serving in multiple leadership positions in state government. RCPA President and CEO Richard Edley said, “We are very sad to see Steve leave RCPA – with the extensive knowledge and expertise he brought from the Offices of Developmental Programs and Vocational Rehabilitation, Steve shepherded our members through many months of reforms proposed by state funding agencies, including major changes to Medicaid waivers, funding regulations, and rates. But it’s a feather in RCPA’s cap that Steve has been asked to lead a strong and prestigious service provider such as ACHIEVA. This is a tremendous opportunity for him; we wish Steve all the best as he enters the next chapter of his career in service to people with disabilities.” Suroviec will continue at RCPA through the end of November to assist in the operations and in a transition. Read ACHIEVA’s press release and see the announcement in the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Three associations representing community intellectual disability/autism (ID/A) and behavioral health (BH) services providers released a study today that provided a comprehensive review of the ID/A and BH Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce, the crisis within the workforce, and means to address the crisis. The study identified the need for investment in this workforce as the most important step state policymakers can take to address the workforce crisis.

See the full press release here, which also includes a link to the study being referenced. Contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs, with any questions.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) recently issued the following information and resources in preparation for the roll-out of Community HealthChoices (CHC) beginning January 2018 in the Southwest zone of the state.

Coming to the Southwest Zone in January 2018

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is committed to open and frequent communication to educate and inform individuals who will move to Community HealthChoices (CHC). It is critical that they are aware of the upcoming changes and are able to make an informed decision on their plan selection. We are using multiple channels to get the message out, and want to ensure that you are aware of upcoming information that potential participants will receive.

  • INFORMATIONAL FLYER

Participants in the Southwest Zone received this flyer (also available in Spanish) in August 2017 to inform them that CHC was coming to their county in January 2018.

  • CHC Community Meetings for Participants

Participants in the Southwest will receive an invitation to community meetings in late September.

There will be more than 40 events in the Southwest Zone, with at least one in each of the 14 impacted counties. The meetings will give more information about CHC, the LIFE program, and answer questions participants may have.

To register for a community meeting, participants can go to www.healthchoices.pa.gov or call 1-833-735-4416. A copy of the invitation is available here.

  • Notices

DHS will mail notices to potential participants beginning today. The notice will inform participants that they will transition to CHC in January and will need to select a health plan, also called a managed care organization (MCO).

The notice also tells potentially eligible participants that they may be eligible for the LIFE program.

Copies of the notices are be available here.

  • Pre-Enrollment Packets

Beginning on October 2, 2017, pre-enrollment packets will be mailed to participants. This packet will contain information about each of the health plans and the benefits offered by each plan, and tell participants how to enroll in a health plan. There will be a toll-free number and website for participants to use to make their selection. A day after the packets are mailed, automated calls will be made to let participants know that the packets are coming.

If participants do not select a health plan, they will get a follow-up call.

Individuals who do not select a plan by November 13, 2017, will be assigned to a plan. Individuals can change their plan at any time.

  • Social Media

DHS’ Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts make CHC information readily available. If you are not following us yet, please click the provided links to make sure you are receiving all up-to-date information on CHC and all department priorities.

chc-phases-map

(Map, Community HealthChoices Phases)