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Advocates Say New Health Care Plan Will hurt People with Disabilities

Disability advocates are warning that the Republican proposal to revamp the nation’s health care system would fundamentally alter Medicaid, threatening access to community-based services for people with developmental disabilities. The plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act unveiled by Republican legislators of the U.S. House of Representatives calls for new limits on federal Medicaid spending. Rather than provide matching grants to states to cover anyone who meets eligibility requirements, the federal government would impose what’s known as a per capita cap, providing a fixed amount of money for each beneficiary based on spending in 2016. Per capita cap would mean $116 billion less in federal funding for Medicaid over 10 years, with states left to make up the difference.

That would mark a dramatic shift for the state-federal program that has operated as an entitlement since its inception in 1965. Advocates warn that such a change would trigger deep consequences for people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid to access everything from doctors to support services to live in the community. It’s not yet clear exactly how much money the feds would provide states for Medicaid under the new plan. However, an estimate from the nonpartisan Center on Budget Disability advocacy groups are rallying their supporters to oppose the measure by encouraging families to talk to their state and federal lawmakers about how Medicaid affects people with developmental disabilities on a personal level. Nearly 1,000 people from across the country participated in an emergency call last week to discuss next steps.

Source: Disability Scoop

Governor Hogan Vetoes Paid Sick Leave Bill

Governor Larry Hogan recently vetoed paid sick leave legislation with hopes of reaching a compromise with Democrats by the time next year's legislative session begins. The Governor stated, "This is not a decision being made lightly. I am vetoing it because it is the right course of action for the state's economy. This is not the end of the discussion, rather it's the beginning of the discussion to get this right."

The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act would have required employers with 15 or more employees to provide up to five days of paid sick leave, or one hour for every 30 worked. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees have to provide five unpaid sick days. Hogan previously promised to veto the legislation, saying it would be "dead on arrival" when it reached his desk.

Although the Governor vetoed the paid sick leave bill, the Governor said he will sign three executive orders demonstrating his commitment to making paid sick leave available to Maryland workers. One of the executive orders will form a task force led by Secretary of Labor Kelly Schulz to study paid sick leave, interview employers across the state and come up with a viable option that will not harm small businesses. The task force will submit a report on its findings in December. Another executive order will provide paid sick leave to contractual employees who work within the executive branch. Hogan suggested House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., and the judicial branch do the same.

Source: Baltimore Buess Journal

President Trump's Proposed Budet Would Hurt People with Disabilities

President Trump's proposed budget includes billions of dollars in reductions to social service programs over the next decade, including one that has received a lot of attention: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The long-standing program, designed primarily to protect workers who become injured or disabled, currently serves nearly 9 million Americans, generally between the ages of 18 and 64, as well as almost 2 million of their dependents. Under President Trump’s proposed budget, SSDI would bear a large share of the overall cuts, with approximately $70 billion slashed from its budget over the next 10 years. Trump's proposed budget would also reduce benefits through another, smaller program known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

For additional resources from Associated Press, click here.

For additional reading on the cuts to SSDI and SSI, click here.


State Accepting Proposals to Invest in Apprenticeships

Kelly M. Schulz, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor today announced that the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation has received exclusive Federal funding to establish an Apprenticeship Innovation Fund. The Federal grant allows Maryland to provide incentives for innovative apprenticeship solutions for Maryland’s businesses. This initial investment of more than $620,000 is a part of a United States Department of Labor ApprenticeshipUSA Expansion Grant, which was awarded to Maryland in October 2016.

“We are excited about this great opportunity for Maryland’s businesses. This new funding award spotlights the Maryland Department of Labor's deep commitment to the Apprenticeship model as a win/win for Maryland businesses and working families alike. The plan is for Maryland businesses to use this opportunity to invest in their company, their communities and the State by investing in offering apprenticeships,” said Maryland Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz.

The Maryland Department of Labor plans to use this award to more strategically align apprenticeships with Maryland’s workforce system, to expand existing traditional apprenticeship opportunities and to create new opportunities grounded in labor market demand. The Apprenticeship Innovation Fund will provide seed money to businesses committed to creating new apprenticeship opportunities to meet their workforce talent pipeline needs.Under the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland has increased apprenticeships from 7,186 in 2012 to more than 9,500 by the end of 2016.

For more information about Maryland apprenticeship opportunities, please visit theMaryland Department of Labor website, e-mail the Department’s Apprenticeship team, or contact the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning at (410) 767-2173.

Source: DLLR






































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