Medicaid/LTSS: The Arc Releases New Videos on Deinstitutionalization and Community Living

The Arc recently released two new videos relating to deinstitutionalization and community living. The first video discusses the fact that 37 states still have state-run institutions for people with I/DD. The video features self-advocates and siblings discussing the need to close remaining institutions. Additionally, it calls for additional resources to make community living possible. The second video features self-advocates discussing what community living means to them. It calls for additional funding to eliminate waiting lists.

Medicaid/LTSS: House, Senate Approve Extensions of MFP, F2F Health Information Centers, Spousal Impoverishment Protections

The Senate and House of Representatives passed the Sustaining Excellence in Medicaid Act of 2019 (H.R.3253) on July 25 and 30, respectively. This bill adds $122.5 million for the Money Follows the PersonĀ (MFP) Rebalancing Demonstration, extends the authorization for Family-to-Family (F2F) Health Information Centers through 2024, and extends the spousal impoverishment protections for home and community based services beneficiaries until December 31. F2F Health Information Centers provide critical support to families caring for children and youth with special health care needs (and assist providers, state and federal agencies, legislators, and other stakeholders to better understand and serve this constituency). MFP has helped more than 88,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions. Independent evaluations have proven that MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and has reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23%. The spousal impoverishment protection allows the spouse of a Medicaid long term services and supports (LTSS) beneficiary to maintain a modest amount of income and resources for food, rent, and medication. This bill must now be signed by President Trump in order to become law. The Arc continues to push for a long term extension of MFP via the EMPOWER Care Act which is currently under consideration in the Senate.

LTSS: HCBS Business Acumen Center to Host Webinar on Stabilizing Business Operations

On June 20, the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Business Acumen Center will host a webinar titled “Holding the Course: Stabilizing Business Operations.” Panelists will be Chip Dodd, President and CEO of Support Services of Virginia, Inc; and Laura Vegas, Managed Care Organizations Business Acumen Director at the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services. The webinar will take place from 12:30-1:30 p.m. EDT. Register here.

Health/LTSS: Representatives Introduce Medicare for America Act

On May 1, Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and 14 other co-sponsors introduced the Medicare for America Act (H.R.2452). The bill expands Medicare to cover all persons not covered by employer-sponsored health insurance. Additionally, it expands Medicare’s benefit package to include long term services and supports (LTSS), among other things. The Arc supports including provisions to cover LTSS in any comprehensive health reform proposal.

Medicaid/LTSS: President Signs MFP Extension

On April 18, President Trump signed the Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act of 2019 (H.R.1839) into law. This bill adds an additional $20 million for the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program through September 30, 2019. MFP has helped more than 88,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions. Independent evaluations have proven that MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and has reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23%. The Arc strongly supports reauthorization of MFP. Additionally, the bill extends Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment protections for home and community based services beneficiaries until September 30. The spousal impoverishment protection allows the spouse of a Medicaid long term services and supports (LTSS) beneficiary to maintain a modest amount of income and resources for food, rent, and medication.

Medicaid/LTSS: House and Senate Approve MFP Extension

On March 25, the House of Representatives approved the Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act of 2019 (H.R.1839) which adds an additional $20 million for the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program through September 30, 2019. The Senate passed H.R.1839 on April 2. It now awaits the President’s signature. MFP has helped more than 88,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions. Independent evaluations have proven that MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and has reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23%. The Arc strongly supports reauthorization of MFP. Additionally, the bill extends Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment protections for home and community-based services beneficiaries until September 30. The spousal impoverishment protection allows the spouse of a Medicaid long term services and supports (LTSS) beneficiary to maintain a modest amount of income and resources for food, rent, and medication.

Health/LTSS: Medicare for All Plan With LTSS Coverage Introduced in the Senate

On April 10, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and 14 other Senators introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (S.1129) which expands Medicare to cover all residents. It also eliminates all out-of-pocket costs for all benefits except prescription drugs and expands benefits to include home and community-based long term services and supports (LTSS), among other things. The Arc supports including provisions to address the need for LTSS in any comprehensive health reform proposal.

Correction: The original title of this article inaccurately stated that this bill was introduced in the House. The Arc regrets this error.

Medicaid/LTSS: MFP Reauthorization Reintroduced in Senate and House

On February 25, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced the EMPOWER Care Act (S.548, H.R.1342), which extends the Money Follows the Person Program (MFP) through 2023. The MFP program has helped more than 88,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions. Independent evaluations have proven that MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and has reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23%. The Arc strongly supports reauthorization of MFP. See the action alert.

Health/LTSS: Medicare for All Plan with LTSS Coverage Introduced in the House

On February 28, Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019, which expands Medicare to cover all residents. It also eliminates all out-of-pocket costs for all benefits except prescription drugs and expands benefits to include long term services and supports (LTSS), among other things. The Arc supports including provisions to address the need for LTSS in any comprehensive health reform proposal.

Medicaid/LTSS: Short-Term MFP Extension Signed Into Law

On January 24, 2019, the President signed into law H.R. 259, the “Medicaid Extenders Act of 2019,” which extends the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. The measure provides 3 months of funding for the MFP program, which states have until September 30, 2019 to spend. MFP has helped more than 88,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions. Independent evaluations have proven that MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and has reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23%. The Arc strongly supports reauthorization of MFP. Additionally, the bill extends Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment protections for home and community-based services beneficiaries until March 31. The spousal impoverishment protection allows the spouse of a Medicaid long term services and supports (LTSS) beneficiary to maintain a modest amount of income and resources for food, rent, and medication. The Arc would like to thank advocates who contacted their Members of Congress on this important issue.