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
Maryland House Approves Revised $43.5 Million Budget
The House of Delegates passed a revised version of Governor Larry Hogan's $43.5 billion state budget on a strong bipartisan vote Thursday, sending it to the state Senate. The vote on the budget bill was 135-6, with only a handful of the most conservative Republicans dissenting. There was no debate. The House then passed a companion bill, which was needed to balance the budget. In that bill, the House Appropriations Committee denied most of Hogan's proposals to repeal spending mandates that the General Assembly had previously adopted.
Source: Center Maryland
Paid Sick Leave Approved By Senate
The paid sick leave bill was passed by the Maryland Senate last week. Under the bill, Maryland employees of companies that have 15 or more workers would be able to earn up to five days of paid sick leave. The full Senate reduced the number of paid leave days approved by the Senate Finance Committee. Under the originalSenate version of the bill, employers would have been required to provide six days, or 48 hours, of sick leave each year. The House version of the bill requires seven days. The Senate proposal, passed last Thursday with only Democrats voting in favor, would require companies with more than 15 workers to offer five days of paid sick leave per year, with an exception for seasonal employees. Smaller firms must offer the same amount of leave, but unpaid.
Source: Washington Post
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning at (410) 767-2173.