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Issue Spotlight

Technology and Medicare: Congress Passes, Obama Signs Steve Gleason Act

Posted Aug. 4, 2015 | On July 30, the president signed the Steve Gleason Act (S. 984) into law, a bill to amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide Medicare beneficiaries access to eye tracking accessories for speech generating devices and to remove the rental cap for durable medical equipment under the Medicare Program with respect to speech generating devices. The House of Representatives passed the bill April 22, followed by the Senate on July 15.

Courtesy of AUCD In Brief: Disability Policy News

News & Events

What We’re Reading: Aug. 3, 2015

National Advisory Board

Last week was filled with celebrations of the 50th anniversaries of Medicare and Medicaid on Thursday, July 30. In his weekly radio address and a separate video, the president celebrated the anniversaries, praising the two programs for “sav[ing] millions of our people from poverty and hardship.” The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also celebrated with a video, state-by-state enrollment data dump, Blog and Twitter campaign, #KeepingUSHealthy, touting the two programs cover a combined 100 million Americans. More celebrating:

  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) celebrated in its own GAO way – with a report detailing four challenges facing Medicaid: access to quality care, transparency and oversight, program integrity, and addressing state variation through federal financing.

  • PBS Newshour sat down with two former secretaries of Health and Human Services, who oversaw the programs, asking, “after 50 years, how do we ensure Medicare and Medicaid longevity?”

  • And this historical piece by U.S. News and World Report, which suggests Medicare and Medicaid “have become part of the fabric of life in the U.S.”

Also the unfulfilled promise of mental health parity; disability prevalence in the U.S.; health care spending on the rise; and public support for health care reform, Medicare and Medicaid:

  • Kaiser Health News with Vox detail ongoing efforts by advocates – and continuing research and analysis, including by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and National Alliance on Mental Illness – to implement fully and enforce the 2008 Mental Health Parity Act.

  • One in five American adults lives with a disability, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS  study, drawn from 2013 data, includes data by state, data by disability type, and nationally, including that 53 million Americans have a disability, reports USA Today. Related: Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole calls on Congress to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, according to The Hill.

  • The federal Health and Human Services Department’s Office of the Actuary finds health care spending is rising faster than at any time since the Great Recession, or 5.8 percent annually over the next decade. The Associated Press and POLITICO have more.

  • Recent public surveys show Americans strongly support Medicare and Medicaid and approval of the Affordable Care Act is steadily rising, writes The New York Times’ Editorial Board.

ICYMI: Last week the Declarations blog welcomed Leonard Kirschner, member of the National Advisory Board to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of Medicare and Medicaid.
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