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 Legislative & Policy Corner

Congress in Recess until Sept. 7
With members of Congress still back in their districts, AMCHP urges MCH professionals to communicate with their representatives during the recess to raise awareness of the work that MCH programs do to keep the public healthy and safe. See our previous Legislative Alert for more information, including a toolkit that the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) developed to assist state health officials on how to engage with lawmakers.

Sequester Toolkit
The Coalition for Health Funding, which AMCHP is a member of, has developed a new toolkit to help advocates speak out on sequestration, or the expected 8 percent cut across the board to federal departments and agencies starting Jan. 2, 2013. The toolkit includes a video explaining the current debate and the consequences of inaction, tips for taking action and frequently asked questions about sequestration.

In Case You Missed It: CDC Released Updated Guidance on Anti-Lobbying Restrictions for Grantees
On Jul. 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its updated anti-lobbying restrictions guidance for CDC grantees. The new guidance is in response to expanded anti-lobbying language that was included in the FY 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The full updated guidance is available on the CDC website. Grantees are encouraged to contact their CDC project officer with any additional questions regarding the guidance.

Health Reform Implementation

Final Blueprint
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final Blueprint for Approval of Affordable State-based and State Partnership Insurance Exchanges. This blueprint is the method for states to indicate to HHS that they wish to operate either a state-based or state partnership model health insurance exchange. States seeking to operate a state-based exchange or electing to participate in a state partnership exchange must submit a complete Exchange Blueprint no later than 30 business days prior to the required approval date of Jan. 1 (Nov. 16, 2012, for plan year 2014). States that plan to operate in the federally facilitated exchange without partnership – that intend to operate their own reinsurance programs – should submit a declaration letter addressing how they meet or will meet the requirements of section 5.2: reinsurance program. They are invited to submit a declaration letter otherwise, but they do not need to complete the Exchange Application. For more information on the blueprint, click here.

CMS Regional Calls
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be holding a series of regional stakeholder engagement teleconferences on Health Insurance Marketplace & Expanded Insurance Options. CMS staff will update participants on the latest information regarding implementation of the Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchanges), part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and start discussing strategies to educate the uninsured, underinsured, and small businesses about expanded insurance coverage options. For the schedule of the calls, click here.

Open Door Forum on ACO
The CMS Innovation Center is seeking input from interested stakeholders and the public on how educational opportunities for providers interested in participating in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) or other coordinated care initiatives could be designed. An Open Door Forum on this topic has been scheduled for Monday, Aug. 27. For more information, click here.