Building a stronger voice for Iowans with disabilities...
National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
2007 Annual Conference
July 7-13, 2007
Iowans and other NCIL Advocates have breakfast with Senator Harkin! From left: Dedie Thompson, SILC President/Vice President; Liz Sherwin Illinois/Iowa CIL Executive Director; Senator Tom Harkin; Dawn Francis, SILC Executive Director; Teri Saltzman, Florida CIL; and David Neff, former Iowan and CIL Staff.
Iowa SILC Board President Dedie Thompson, Illinois/Iowa Center for Independent Living Executive Director Liz Sherwin, and SILC Executive Director Dawn Francis travelled to Washington, DC for the 2007 National Council on Independent Living Annual Conference to represent Iowa's Independent Living Network.
Dedie, Liz, and Dawn were able to meet in person with five of the seven Iowa federal legislators, including Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Chuck Grassley, Representative Steve King, Representative Tom Latham, and Representative David Lobesack. They were also able to meet with staff for Representative Bruce Braley and Representative Leonard Boswell.
The priority messages to our federal legislative delegation were as follows:
1. Support the Reauthorization of the federal Rehabilitation Act. The Act has added language that will help Iowans with disabilities, including a funding formula change for the distribution of new Part C dollars for Centers for Independent Living, and language to allow SILCs to do resource development.
2. Support an additional $25 million in the funding appropriations for Part C funding for Centers for Independent Living.
3. Support a rescoring of the cost for the Community Choice Act (formerly MiCASSA) based on the new research provided by Dr. Mitch LaPlante.
What IS the Community Choice Act? This Act will end the institutional bias in Medicaid. Currently, if you qualify for Medicaid and you are assessed as needing a nursing home level of care, Medicaid will pay for you to go to a nursing home.
BUT WHAT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO GO TO A NURSING HOME??? What if you want services provided to you in your own home???
Right now Medicaid will only pay to put you in a nursing home and will NOT pay for home and community-based care, even though in most situations the cost for home and community-based care will be MUCH LESS than nursing home care! The Community Choice Act will END the INSTITUTIONAL BIAS by allowing Medicaid to pay for home and community-based care for those on Medicaid who qualify for a nursing home level of care!
Originally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had scored the old MiCASSA bill as costing between $10 to $20 billion. The new reseach by Dr. LaPlante shows that it will only cost between $4 to $5 billion for the Community Choice Act, which is much more fiscally feasible.
So what happened? What did our federal delegation have to say?
Senator Grassley agreed to press CBO for a rescoring of the Community Choice Act based upon the new research we gave him. This is vitally important in order for the bill to get out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. Representative Steve King and Representative Tom Latham were also supportive of the rescoring of the Act, and both said they would write a letter of support to Senator Grassley and encourage him to press for the rescoring. Represenative Latham may also encourage Senator Grassley to hold a hearing on the Community Choice Act. And of course Senator Harkin was supportive on all of the disability issues we discussed.
Senator Grassley also indicated he was not opposed to supporting the reauthorization of the federal Rehabilitation Act.
So what happens now?
We need to keep pressing our federal delegation on these issues. All of the advocates nationwide who were at the NCIL Conference WERE able to get the Senate to hold a hearing on the Community Choice Act, which will happen sometime in September. We are not sure yet where the Senate is at in asking CBO to rescore the Community Choice Act based on Dr. LaPlantes new research, so we need to keep on Senator Grassley to push for this.
In terms of other activities at the conference, there were a number of really good workshops, including information on Aging and Disability Resource Centers and partnering with CILs; the PRIDE Curriculum, which promotes disability studies for all students grades K-12; Regional caucuses to discuss issues in our region; a meeting to discuss SILC Congress workshops for January; and LOTS of networking and learning about issues from around the country!
The Faces of NCIL 2007...
NCIL Board Meeting July 2007
Teri Saltzman, Florida CIL
Kathy Hoell, Nebraska SILC Executive Director
Kathy Hatch, APRIL Regional Coordinator, and Liz Sherwin, APRIL President and Executive Director, Illinois/Iowa CIL
Dedie Thomspon, SILC Board President/Vice President, and NCIL Youth Participant
Dawn Francis, SILC Executive Director, and another IL Youth Advocate at the Kennedy Hearing on the CLASS Act
Bob Kafka and ADAPT folks at the Kennedy Hearing on the CLASS Act
Bob Kafka of ADAPT
Independent Living Advocates at the CLASS Act Hearing
Senator Tom Harkin at the CLASS Act Hearing
Senators Kennedy and Harkin at the CLASS Act Hearing
Over 200 Advocates packed two rooms for the CLASS Act Hearing
David Neff and Teri Saltzman at the Dubliner debriefing...
Liz Sherwin and other advocates at the Dubliner...
Tim Sheehan and Mike Bachhuber from Wisconsin relaxing after the Day on the Hill...
Dedie Thompson, SILC Board President/Vice President, discussing disability issues with Senator Tom Harkin
The Iowa Independent Living delegation with Senator Tom Harkin: Dedie Thompson, Liz Sherwin, Senator Harkin, and Dawn Francis
Lee Perselay, Disability Counsel for Senator Tom Harkin, with Liz Sherwin, Executive Director of the Illinois/Iowa CIL
Sean Barrett, the Rehabilitation Services Administration Staff Contact for Iowa
Dawn Francis, Iowa SILC, and Dawn Heinsohn, ILRU
Ann Riley from Iowa CDD and Mary Anderson from Iowa Department of Elder Affairs at the ADRC Luncheon and Workshop
Liz Sherwin and Dedie Thompson at the ADRC Luncheon
The ADRC Luncheon and Workshop drew a very large crowd...
Kelly Buckland, NCIL Board President, at the ADRC Luncheon and Workshop...
Iowans attending the ADRC Luncheon and Workshop...
Yoshiko Dart attending the NCIL 25th Anniversary Banquet
Kathy Hatch and Liz Sherwin, APRIL, Accepting the NCIL President's Award for APRIL Executive Director Linda Gonzales
Billy Altom, CIL Director
Jammin on our last night in DC...
Patrick and Tim having a great time on their last night in DC...
Kathy Hatch and Friend...
Singing and playing till the weeeeee hours...
NCIL staffer Tim Fuchs and David Neff at the late night jam session...
Jim Beck from Alaska... There was a LOT of talent here at the late night jam...
Teri Saltzman and Friend
Jeff Hughes from Oklahoma... More jammin!
NCIL Staffer Elizabeth Leef at the late night jam session...
NCIL Staffer Tim Fuchs at the late night jam session...
NCIL Staffer Justin Chappell at the late night jam...