Last week, the White House announced a proposal to make major changes to the structure of government agencies. The most prominent change proposed is the merger of the Departments of Education and Labor. Additionally, the proposal moves non-commodity nutrition assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which would be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare. If legislation is introduced to make these changes, The Arc will assess the impact on programs critical to people with disabilities.
The Department of Health and Human Services released a Notice of Funding Availability for grants for the navigator program authorized by the Affordable Care Act. The grants are available to organizations in states that the federal government is running or partnering with to maintain the private health insurance marketplaces. Navigators assist people with enrolling in health insurance programs. Organizations that are interested must submit a letter of intent by July 10. For pre-application webinars or more information, visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.
The Senate confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last Thursday. The vote was 78 in favor and 17 voting against confirmation. Burwell is moving into the position from her post as the director of the Office of Management and Budget where she was easily confirmed in a 96-0 vote last April.