Medicaid/LTSS: HCBS Infrastructure Improvement Act Introduced in Senate

On February 12, Senator Robert P. Casey (D-PA) introduced the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Infrastructure Improvement Act (S.3277). This bill provides seven-year grants to states to improve the Home and Community Based Services systems by doing at least three of the following:

  • Increasing the availability of housing;
  • Expanding transportation options;
  • Increasing wages, benefits, and support for direct support professionals;
  • Expanding competitive integrated employment; and
  • Building no-wrong-door application, referral, and counseling systems.

The Arc supports this legislation. Learn more.

Medicaid: House Passes Resolution Expressing Disapproval of Medicaid Block Grant Proposal

On February 6, the House of Representatives passed H.Res.826, expressing disapproval of the Administration’s Medicaid block grant guidance. The non-binding resolution calls on the administration to withdraw the guidance, stating that it is illegal and harmful to beneficiaries. Under this guidance, states would be allowed to restrict eligibility, provide limited health care benefits, reduce access to prescription drugs, impose burdensome work requirements, and make other changes that are detrimental to Medicaid beneficiaries. Many people with disabilities, including people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD), are part of the Medicaid expansion population and could be directly impacted. Read The Arc’s statement.

Medicaid: CMS Releases New Block Grant Guidance

On January 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new guidance allowing states to cap their federal Medicaid funding for the low-income adult population in exchange for greater flexibility to limit coverage. States would be allowed to restrict eligibility, provide limited health care benefits, reduce access to prescription drugs, impose burdensome work requirements, and make other changes that are detrimental to Medicaid beneficiaries. This guidance does not appear to directly impact the portion of the Medicaid program that funds home and community-based services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). However, many people with disabilities, including people with I/DD, are part of the Medicaid expansion population and could be directly impacted. Read The Arc’s statement.

Medicaid/LTSS: Congress Approves MFP Extension

Late last month, Congress approved and President Trump signed a five-month extension of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program as part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R.1865). However, Congress did not approve a permanent reauthorization. MFP has helped more than 90,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions. Independent evaluations have shown that MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and has reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23%. Learn more about MFP here and read The Arc’s statement.

TAKE ACTION! TODAY Is National Call-In Day for MFP Reauthorization

On December 16, advocates are holding a national call-in day to urge Congress to pass a permanent Money Follows the Person (MFP) reauthorization before funding runs out at the end of the year. On December 6, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced a bipartisan agreement to permanently reauthorize MFP as part of the larger Drug Pricing and Healthcare Extenders Package. MFP has helped more than 90,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions. Independent evaluations have shown that MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and has reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23%. Learn more about MFP here.

Take action here! To learn more about the call-in day, please visit the Facebook event page or the Center for Public Representation’s website

Medicaid/LTSS: Senators Announce Bipartisan Agreement to Permanently Reauthorize MFP

On December 6, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced a bipartisan agreement to permanently reauthorize the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program and Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) spousal impoverishment protections as part of the larger Drug Pricing and Healthcare Extenders Package. MFP has helped more than 90,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions. Independent evaluations have shown 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 person receiving Medicaid HCBS to maintain a modest amount of income and resources for food, rent, and medication. Read The Arc’s statement here.

Medicaid: CMS Proposes Rescinding Access Rule

On July 15, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule rescinding the Medicaid Access Rule. The Medicaid Access Rule is CMS’s means of enforcing the statutory requirement that states set provider reimbursement rates high enough to allow people to access the services and supports that they need. States are currently required to create an access monitoring review plan (AMRP) and to monitor selected Medicaid services. The proposed rule eliminates that requirement. The Arc believes that the Access Rule should be strengthened, not weakened. Comments are due on September 13.

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 Person (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.