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.

Medicaid/LTSS: Senate Approves MFP Extension

On January 17, the Senate approved H.R.259, which extends the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program until September 30. 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. 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 bill now awaits President Trump’s signature. The Arc would like to thank advocates who contacted their Members of Congress on this important issue.

Rights/LTSS: Disability Integration Act Reintroduced

On January 15, Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reintroduced the Disability Integration Act (H.R.555/S.117). The Disability Integration Act requires states to offer community-based options. Additionally, it requires states to address the need for affordable housing. ADAPT and other advocates held a briefing on the day of introduction.

Medicaid/LTSS: House Approves MFP Extension

On January 8, the House of Representatives approved H.R.259, which extends the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program until September 30. 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. Additionally, the bill extends Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment protection 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 bill must now receive Senate approval. Contact your Senators using our action alert.

Medicaid/LTSS – House Committee Holds Hearing Addressing MFP; Advocates Hold Briefing

On September 5, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on several bipartisan health initiatives, including reauthorization of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration Program. Witnesses testifying on MFP were Curtis Cunningham, Vice President, National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities; and Matt Salo, Executive Director, National Association of Medicaid Directors. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to view archived video of the hearing.

On September 6, The Arc and other advocacy organizations held a briefing for Congressional staff on reauthorization of MFP. Nicole Jorwic, Director of Rights Policy at The Arc was the moderator of the briefing. Speakers were John McCarthy, Founding Partner at Speire Healthcare Strategies, Former Medicaid Director in Ohio and DC; Margaret Gartlgruber, Vice President at RHA Health Services; Mike Oxford, Executive Director for Policy, Topeka Independent Living Resource Center; and Tyree Brown, a person who transitioned back home in Maryland. MFP provides grants to states to transition people from institutions to community based settings. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this program has helped over 63,000 people transition into the community and saved Medicare and Medicaid almost $1 billion as of 2013. The Arc strongly supports reauthorization of MFP.

Medicaid/LTSS – House Committee to Hold Hearing Addressing MFP; Advocates to Hold Briefing

On September 5, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on several bipartisan initiatives, including reauthorization of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration Program. On September 6, The Arc and other advocacy organizations will hold a briefing for Congressional staff on reauthorization of MFP. MFP provides grants to states to transition people from institutions to community-based settings. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this program has helped over 63,000 people transition into the community and saved Medicare and Medicaid almost $1 billion as of 2013. The Arc strongly supports reauthorization of MFP.

Medicaid/LTSS – Money Follows the Person Reauthorization Bill Introduced in House

On March 15, Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care (EMPOWER Care) Act (H.R. 5306). This bipartisan bill reauthorizes the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Program, which provides grants to states to transition people from institutions to community based settings. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this program has helped over 63,000 people transition into the community and saved almost $1 billion for Medicare and Medicaid as of 2013. The Arc strongly supports this legislation.

Medicaid/LTSS – The Arc and Partners Hosts Congressional Briefing on Community Integration for People with Disabilities

The Arc and other disability rights organizations joined the offices of Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in hosting a briefing on January 11 for Congressional staff titled “Community Integration for People with Disabilities: Policy Opportunities and Challenges.” Julia Bascom, Executive Director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, moderated the briefing. Panelists were Cathy Ficker Terrill, national disability services expert and parent; Alison Barkoff, Director of Advocacy, Center for Public Representation; Nicole Jorwic, Director of Rights Policy, The Arc of the United States; Ken Capone, Public Policy Director, People on the go Maryland; and Pam Wright, a parent advocate.