The Administration strongly supports S. 331, in the form of the amendment in the nature of a substitute to be offered by Chairman Roth. The President endorsed this legislation last year, renewed his challenge for the Congress to pass this bill in the State of the Union, and included funding for it in his FY 2000 Budget.
The Work Incentives Improvement Act takes an important step towards removing significant barriers to work for millions of people with disabilities. Americans with disabilities can and do bring tremendous energy and talent to the American workforce, but the unemployment rate for all working-age adults with disabilities is nearly 75 percent. One of the most glaring problems is that people with disabilities frequently become ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare if they go back to work. This puts people with disabilities in the untenable position of choosing between health care coverage and work.
S. 331 would improve job opportunities for people with disabilities by increasing access to health care and employment services. The President, the Vice President, and the entire Administration have a long-standing commitment to improve the inclusion, empowerment, and independence of individuals with disabilities. The bill's new health care options in the Medicare and Medicaid programs and the "Ticket to Work" provisions, which are funded in the President's FY 2000 Budget, would make major strides toward these goals. The Administration urges Congress to enact this landmark bipartisan legislation.
S. 331 would affect direct spending and receipts; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. The Office of Management and Budget's preliminary scoring estimate indicates that the Roth substitute would increase direct spending by $19 million in FY 2000 and a total of $799 million during FYs 2000-2004. OMB estimates that S. 331 would increase receipts by $18 million in FY 2000 and by a total of $859 million during FYs 2000-2004. The net pay-as-you-go effect would be a cost of $1 million in FY 2000 and savings of $60 million during FYs 2000-2004.