On Friday, April 9, 2021, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released an overview of the President Joe Biden’s appropriations proposals for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 discretionary funding and some further details on priorities within individual agencies.
The President's proposal is a 16% increase in non-defense discretionary spending over FY 2021, and includes several lines of interest to the disability community:
The President's budget is typically considered an opening bid in negotiations with US Congress.
President Biden released the American Jobs Plan, a proposal for infrastructure reform and economic recovery. The proposal is a framework that will need to be translated into legislative text and passed through Congress. Priorities in the disability community that may be considered as part of the legislative package include:
Governor Roy Cooper released his proposed two-year budget which calls for spending $27.4 billion in the first year, eight percent higher than his 2019 proposal, and which includes Medicaid Expansion and pay raises for teachers and other state employees.
The following are items from the proposed budget that are related to people with I/DD:
The release of the Governor’s budget was the first step in the budget process. The Senate is now working on their budget. Once the Senate passes a budget, it will be sent to the House where their budget will be approved. A conference committee will be appointed to work out differences.
Bills that may impact people with I/DD:
HB 249 Children with Disabilities Funding Formula: HB 249 would direct the Department of Public Instruction to study the funding formula for children with disabilities and special education in public schools and consider a model that would base funding on the severity of disability. The bill also increases the cap on the current funding formula for children with disabilities from 12.75% to 13%. The study report would be due to legislative education committees by February 15, 2022.
The funding formula for special education has been a concern for a long time. A plan to address this could improve education supports for children with I/DD.
North Carolina Innovations Waiver Act of 2021: Bills were filed in the House (H389) and Senate (S350) that would fund an additional 1000 Innovations home and community waiver slots, including 200 set aside for the development of a tiered waiver to support people with a lower level of need. The bill also requires NC DHHS to convene a stakeholder group to develop a ten-year plan to address the Registry of Unmet Needs, also known as those waiting for services.
It is hoped that funding for 1000 Innovations waiver slots will be in the Senate budget when it is released.
Reduce Regulations to Help Children with Autism: This bill (S103/H91) will allow behavior analysts to obtain NC licensure and provide services on their own. Both the House and Senate passed this bill and after the approval of some technical changes, it is expected to go to the Governor for signature.
This legislation will increase access to early intervention for children with autism.
Police Notice of Person with I/DD in Vehicle: This bill is a proposal at this point. It would direct the Division of Motor Vehicles to develop a designation for driver’s licenses that may be granted upon request to a person with an intellectual or developmental disability and to appropriate funds for that purpose.
The Council is in discussion with bill sponsors about this proposed bill.
Medicaid Transformation continues to move forward. The Standard Plan is scheduled to launch on July 1, 2021. Letters have been sent to beneficiaries who need to enroll in a plan. These integrated managed care products called Standard Plans will cover physical health, behavioral health and pharmacy services to many North Carolinians who receive their healthcare through Medicaid. The open enrollment is scheduled to run through May 15, 2021.
Behavioral Health I/DD Tailored Plans are specialized managed care focusing on the needs of individuals with significant behavioral health disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These plans are scheduled to begin in July 2022 and will cover a more robust package of Behavioral Health, I/DD and TBI services compared to Standard Plans. The LME/MCOs submitted applications to provide these plans and the Department of Health and Human Services is currently reviewing these applications.