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LSA Washington – July 13, 2010

A regular publication from the LSA Public Policy Office

Congress Back in Session; Pressure Still Needed to Pass FMAP Extension

Congress returns from the Fourth of July recess this week, with Senate leadership indicating they will be focusing on jobs legislation and messaging in the coming months. This is expected to include the bringing up of tax extenders legislation again once an appointment has been made to fill the seat of the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. The leadership has stated that the extended enhanced FMAP funding would be included as a part of that legislation. The Senate is expected to take up a vote on the extension of unemployment insurance in a separate vote, again once an appointee has been named to the West Virginia seat. It is also understood that there is a possiblity of the tax extenders package being voted on as an amendment to a small business bill that is expected to come up in the Senate next week.

LSA is continuing to advocate for the passage of this or any legislation which contains the enhanced FMAP extension, as well as the extension of unemployment insurance and enhanced COBRA subsidies, funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, an extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund and the reestablishment of the IRA charitable deduction tax provision. We know many of you have made many phone calls and sent many letters, and it is important to keep pressure on the Senate to ask for the passage of this legislation. LSA members that support any or all of these provisions are encouraged to send a letter to the editor of their state and local newspapers (click here for a sample letter), as well as continue to contact their Senators (click here for a sample script).

For more information, please contact Lisa Hassenstab via e-mail or at 202-626-7932.

Obama Appoints CMS Head During Recess

On July 12, Dr. Donald Berwick, a professor at Harvard Medical School and President and CEO of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, was sworn in as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). Dr. Berwick was appointed to lead CMS by President Obama last week during the Congressional recess. Because it is a recess appointment, it will last until the end of 2011. Before Monday, CMS had not had a permanent Administrator since 2006.

LSA and LSA-DN have worked closely with CMS for many years, and look forward to continuing that work as CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services move forward with a significant focus on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the coming months and years. 

Celebrate HCBS on Medicaid's 45th Birthday, July 30, with LSA-DN!

The occasion of Medicaid's 45th birthday, July 30, is a perfect time to offer a toast to Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) and to point out important changes needed in the program. LSA-DN invites your organization to participate in the Medicaid birthday celebration by hosting events and activities, reaching out to the media through letters to the editor and press statements, and engaging with policymakers on ways to ensure that Medicaid works for everyone who needs services. Also, it can serve as a great opportunity to engage staff at all levels as well as consumers and families.

To better support members, LSA-DN is providing you with a Medicaid Birthday Toolkit. This toolkit includes event ideas, fact sheets, talking points and sample flyers, press statements and letters to the editor. We hope you will join us in this opportunity to celebrate Medicaid, to encourage good public policy and to educate our communities, policymakers and the media. If you have any questions or want to report on your organization's activities around Medicaid's birthday, please contact Meg Cooch at 202-626-7949 or by e-mail or go to the LSA-DN advocacy website.

Fighting Poverty With Faith Mobilization Informational Conference Call July 15

For the third year in a row, Lutheran Services in America is joining with some 45 national faith groups in the Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization. Fighting Poverty with Faith (FPWF) is building a nationwide movement to cut domestic poverty in half between 2010 and 2020. A diverse coalition of national and local faith groups that refuses to accept the status quo of poverty in United States, we are working to ensure that meeting the needs of those living in poverty is a national priority, and to highlight solutions that policy makers, community leaders and concerned individuals can take to address the root causes of poverty.

Anyone interested in the campaign is encouraged to join together in the month of October to educate and to advocate around poverty in America. To learn more about the mobilization, the resources and tools that we are creating and how participating in this movement will benefit your community, please join us for an informational conference call on Thursday, July 15 at 3:30 pm EST. The participant dial-in number: 888-690-8774. Questions? Please contact Lisa Hassenstab via e-mail or at 202-626-7932.

Invite Your Elected Officials to Your Site in August!

Now is a great time to plan for and invite your federal elected officials to do a site visit to learn more about your organization while they are home for the month of August. To learn more about hosting your elected officials for a site visit, click here or contact Lisa Hassenstab via e-mail or at 202-626-7932, or Meg Cooch via e-mail or at 202-626-7949.

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