October 16, 2012

National Down Syndrome Congress

Governmental Affairs Newsline 

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
In This Issue
Students with Disabilities
Medicaid Cuts
Capitol Building 
National Down Syndrome Congress
30 Mansell Court
Suite 108
Roswell, GA 30076

NDSC Day on the Hill   

Civil Rights Complaints for Students with Disabilities


Proposals to Medicaid Cuts Devastating

Students with Disabilities Most Often Discriminated Against


The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights released a report covering the period of 2009 to 2011 that details the types of disability rights complaints it received. Fifty-five percent of the complaints concerned disability discrimination.


Of the 11,700 disability complaints OCR received, 4,600 alleged violations were in the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The report indicated that students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) were twice as likely to be suspended from school as their peers without disabilities. Of all the students who were expelled in school year 2009-2010, 16% were served under IDEA. Of all reported physical restraints in schools, 70% involved children with disabilities.


You can see the full report here.

Proposals for Devastating Cuts to Community Services


Medicaid is the federal/state program best known for providing health care services for low-income people, particularly children. The general public is often unaware that many of the recipients are individuals with disabilities from middle class families.


The Medicaid program is the subject of much debate in the national dialogue as drastic deficit reduction measures are being considered. This could mean a devastating blow for people with disabilities - most adults with Down syndrome who have supports to live and work in the community rely on Medicaid funds for the critical support services they need.


People with Down syndrome and other disabilities receive services, based on an individual plan, that can include job support, vocational training, respite services, dressing, taking medication, preparing meals, managing money, making medical appointments, transportation, decision making, and other support needed to maintain a household and live independently.


Medicaid is also the source of funding for health insurance and provides services such as prescription drugs, speech therapy, physical therapy and other health care services.  State and federal Medicaid provide 75% of the funding for these services.


One proposal that is being advanced would make the entire Medicaid program a block grant.  A block grant is a fixed amount of funding from the federal government to the states.  In return, there are virtually no federal rules to govern the program.  The states could make all decisions about the program (i.e., eligibility, services).  The block grant proposal would cut $810 billion over the next 10 years. States would be left with the responsibility of choosing which group of people would receive services (i.e. elderly, medically fragile, uninsured children, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities) and which would have their services drastically reduced or eliminated.


NDSC is currently working in collaboration with other disability advocacy groups to ensure that people with Down syndrome and other disabilities continue to receive the services they need to live and work in the community.


Resources addressing the Medicaid program can be found at:




If you have questions, contact susan@ndsccenter.org