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Most Recent Public Policy

Strengthen Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries

A new bill has been introduced in Congress that would protect people with disabilities from financial exploitation, abuse and neglect. But in order for this to happen, we need your help to get the law passed!

CLICK HERE to tell your representative to support HR4547.


Final Countdown to Vote on AHCA

Time is running out to stop these harmful cuts!

The U.S. Senate is set to take a vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) before July 4. The AHCA contains a devastating 25% cut to Medicaid, and the Senate wants to make these cuts even bigger. Cuts to Medicaid mean cuts to 20 Wisconsin programs like Family Care, IRIS, the Children’s waiver, BadgerCare, mental health programs, Katie Beckett, autism services, personal care, and important therapies like speech, OT and PT.

Our countdown continues today with fact #3. Call Senators Johnson and Baldwin and tell them you are concerned about the AHCA because:  Cuts to Medicaid will hurt Wisconsin’s economy and lead to job loss. Medicaid brings about $5 billion to Wisconsin which supports hospitals, providers, and jobs through 20 Medicaid-funded programs. There are 75,000 Medicaid providers in Wisconsin – many of them small businesses. Cuts to Medicaid will result in cuts to provider rates and make provider shortages worse!

Call Senator Johnson’s three offices:
• DC office: 202-224-5323
• Oshkosh office: 920-230-7250
• Milwaukee office: 414-276-7282
Call Senator Tammy Baldwin:
• DC office: 202-224-5653
• Madison office: 608-264-5338
• Milwaukee office: 414-297-4451
If you would like more information about this fact, see below:

Commonwealth Fund – The American Health Care Act: Economic and Employment Consequences for States…/aca-job-lo…/wisconsin.pdf…

Make Your Voice Heard!

Speak out for priorities for people with disabilities in the state budget: attend a Joint Finance Committee budget hearing and testify!

DRW and BPDD will have staff at each hearing to be a resource for you. We can answer your questions and help you prepare your story. We hope to see you there!

Here are the dates and locations for the 6 budget hearings:
• Monday, April 3 – UW-Platteville, Platteville (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
• Wednesday, April 5 – State Fair Park, Milwaukee (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
• Friday, April 7 – Berlin High School, Berlin (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
• Tuesday, April 18 – Spooner High School, Spooner (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
• Wednesday, April 19 – Ellsworth High School, Ellsworth (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
• Friday, April 21 – Marinette High School, Marinette (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

We have created a summary of budget priorities to help!

Disability Rights Wisconsin Opposes the American Health Care Act (AHCA)

DRW strongly opposes the current proposal and the likely devastating impact it will have on people with disabilities.

Our key concerns include the following:

  • The Per Capita Cap would radically restructure Medicaid by capping federal funding per beneficiary at a rate that is disconnected from beneficiary need and increasing health care costs.
  • Elimination of Retroactive Medicaid Eligibility, which provides coverage up to three months before the month an individual applies for coverage.
  • Repeal of Essential Benefits Coverage for Medicaid and any private plan.  Individuals with disabilities enrolled in Medicaid have the most significant needs for health care and long term supports.  These needs merit access to the same 10 essential health benefits required of ACA exchange plan; Medicaid and any private plan should continue to include coverage for Essential Benefits.
  • Negative impact of the AHCA proposal on people with disabilities who rely on private insurance.  The Affordable Care Act has significantly improved access for people with disabilities to comprehensive and high quality private insurance, thereby expanding opportunities to live independently and maintain employment.
  • Insurance will be less affordable for many people who have significant medical needs and require comprehensive coverage.
  • Insurance would have “lower average actuarial values” which means worse coverage than current policies under the ACA.

Please click here to read our full position.

US Department of Justice Issues Guidance on ADA Integrated Employment Mandate

The United States Department of Justice this week issued a “Statement on Application of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. to State and Local Governments’ Employment Service Systems for Individuals with Disabilities.”

The Justice Department clarified that the Americans with Disabilities Act’s integration mandate applies in all aspects of a person’s life, including the employment context. “The civil rights of persons with disabilities, including individuals with mental illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities, are violated by unnecessary segregation in a wide variety of settings, including in segregated employment, vocational, and day programs.”

As the Protection and Advocacy system for Wisconsin charged with advancing the civil rights of all people with disabilities, Disability Rights Wisconsin has consistently advocated for state and local governments to ensure that taxpayer funding is being used to advance, and not impede, individuals with disabilities’ right to live, work, and recreate in the most integrated environment possible. Click here to read the rest of US Department of Justice Issues Guidance on ADA Integrated Employment Mandate »

Turnout for Transportation

Access to transportation is a top priority for many individuals with disabilities. We encourage people with disabilities to share their stories about their need for public transit and specialized transportation so that they can live, work, and enjoy community life.

Turnout for Transportation, this Thursday, September 29th at 7pm, will provide a venue for you to share your stories, along with other members of the community who can talk about all modes of transportation. The event is taking place across the state and a listing of locations can be found online at Turnout for Transportation.

You can also share your story by posting it online. If you have a story to tell, please go to Turnout for Transportation and follow the instructions to share your story. Here is a link to the instructions for the story sharing platform: story instructions. We hope you will share your stories about the need for accessible, affordable, and available transportation in your area.

National Report Highlights DVR Services Backlog

DRW Advocate Cathy Steffke was quoted extensively in an article addressing counselor and resource shortages at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, particularly for individuals with disabilities who wish to pursue post-secondary education.

Read the full article–”Eligible but got nothing: Hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities blocked from college aid”–in the Hechinger Report here.

New Report Reviews Rapidly Expanding School Voucher Programs in Wisconsin and Nationally

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on Monday, September 12 analyzing the status of the nation’s school voucher programs, including the third largest voucher program, located in Wisconsin. The report reviews policies that impact students with disabilities in voucher programs and indicates how the rapidly expanding voucher system is affecting local public schools. See the full report here: GAO report.

See Disability Rights Wisconsin’s statement here: DRW press release – GAO issues report on voucher schools.

Disability Rights Wisconsin Public Policy Principles

Disability Rights Wisconsin uses both individual advocacy and system change tools to accomplish its goals of ensuring the rights of citizens with disabilities. DRW’s Public Policy Principles provide a framework for the agency’s work and public policy agenda. These principles are constructed to support DRW’s federal charge to educate policymakers and to engage in advocacy, capacity building, and systemic change activities (including policy reform) on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families, including individuals who are traditionally unserved or underserved. Click here to read the rest of Disability Rights Wisconsin Public Policy Principles »

DRW Public Policy Director Lisa Pugh reappointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

President Barack Obama has announced his intent to reappoint Disability Rights Wisconsin’s Public Policy Director, Lisa Pugh, to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID): President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts.The PCPID Was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966.

Last year Lisa worked with the committee to publish the PCPID report to the President:

Leveling the Playing Field: Improving Technology Access and Design for People with Intellectual Disabilities

PCPID 2015 Report to the President.

The PCPID will soon issue a report on reducing segregation of people with disabilities across the lifespan.

You can learn more about the PCPID here:

DRW congratulates Lisa!