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.

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.

Medicaid: Federal Court Strikes Down Medicaid Work Requirements

On March 27, a judge in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia issued two rulings striking down Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky. The opinions direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reconsider the states’ waiver applications with consideration given to possible loss of coverage. The same judge invalidated Kentucky’s waiver last year, and HHS re-approved it without changes after another notice and comment period. Arkansas’s waiver had already gone into effect, and 16,000 had already lost coverage as a result. Read The Arc’s statement on the rulings.

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.

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.

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 Approves Three-Month MFP Extension

Last week, the House both passed the Improving Medicaid Programs and Opportunities for Eligible Beneficiaries (IMPROVE) Act (H.R.7217). This bill includes reauthorization of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program for three months. 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 has saved Medicare and Medicaid almost $1 billion as of 2013. The Arc strongly supports reauthorization of MFP. Additionally, the bill extends Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment protections for Home and Community Based Services beneficiaries for three months. 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.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the IMPROVE Act extended MFP for three years and that it had passed both chambers.

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.