Senate Debates Expansion of Medicaid HCBS

The Senate Special Committee on Aging met this week to debate the improvement and expansion of home-based services, particularly home-and-community based services, a consistent priority for committee chairman Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). Witnesses and Senators frequently cited. Casey’s Better Care Better Jobs (BCBJ) Act, strongly supported by NAHC, as it is the foundation for the HCBS provisions included in the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, the stalled health care, social service, and climate legislation that was a focus for much of 2021.

The most recent version of that legislation passed by the House of Representatives would provide $150 billion investment into Medicaid HCBS, permanency of the Money Follows the Person program, protections against spousal impoverishment for HCBS recipients, and several other policies intended to improved the provision of Medicaid HCBS.

Witnesses testimony focused on the current state of HCBS through explanation of statistics and data on the workforce, wages, patient need, and expected growth over the next eight to ten years. Witnesses highlighted the challenges that recipients are able to overcome with the assistance of home care, as well as the realities they face in the absence of care. They also highlighted challenges caregivers face in wages not competitive with other industries, feelings of isolation, and the grueling work. These accounts were paired with support for the Better Care Better Jobs Act.

While many of the witnesses lauded the HCBS funding included in the American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021, they did add that it did not provide a permanent solution. Anne Tumlinson likened it to an “umbrella in a hurricane.”

At the hearing, the witness panel was comprised of Lisa Harootunian, Associate Director, Health Program, Bipartisan Policy Center, Anne Tumlinson, CEO, ATI Advisory, Brandon Kingsmore, Disability Advocate, Public Speaker, accompanied by Ms. Lynn Weidner, Home Care Worker, and Alene Shaheed, Home Care Recipient.

While the version of Build Back Better passed by the House is not expected to see further consideration in the Senate, work continues to be done on compiling a package of provisions consistent with the intent of BBB, though no specifics seem to be agreed to at this point.

NAHC will continue to urge Congress to make significant investments into the Medicaid HCBS program.

Senate Debates Expansion of Medicaid HCBS

The Senate Special Committee on Aging met this week to debate the improvement and expansion of home-based services, particularly home-and-community based services, a consistent priority for committee chairman Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). Witnesses and Senators frequently cited. Casey’s Better Care Better Jobs (BCBJ) Act, strongly supported by NAHC, as it is the foundation for the HCBS provisions included in the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, the stalled health care, social service, and climate legislation that was a focus for much of 2021.

The most recent version of that legislation passed by the House of Representatives would provide $150 billion investment into Medicaid HCBS, permanency of the Money Follows the Person program, protections against spousal impoverishment for HCBS recipients, and several other policies intended to improved the provision of Medicaid HCBS.

Witnesses testimony focused on the current state of HCBS through explanation of statistics and data on the workforce, wages, patient need, and expected growth over the next eight to ten years. Witnesses highlighted the challenges that recipients are able to overcome with the assistance of home care, as well as the realities they face in the absence of care. They also highlighted challenges caregivers face in wages not competitive with other industries, feelings of isolation, and the grueling work. These accounts were paired with support for the Better Care Better Jobs Act.

While many of the witnesses lauded the HCBS funding included in the American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021, they did add that it did not provide a permanent solution. Anne Tumlinson likened it to an “umbrella in a hurricane.”

At the hearing, the witness panel was comprised of Lisa Harootunian, Associate Director, Health Program, Bipartisan Policy Center, Anne Tumlinson, CEO, ATI Advisory, Brandon Kingsmore, Disability Advocate, Public Speaker, accompanied by Ms. Lynn Weidner, Home Care Worker, and Alene Shaheed, Home Care Recipient.

While the version of Build Back Better passed by the House is not expected to see further consideration in the Senate, work continues to be done on compiling a package of provisions consistent with the intent of BBB, though no specifics seem to be agreed to at this point.

NAHC will continue to urge Congress to make significant investments into the Medicaid HCBS program.

Senate Debates Expansion of Medicaid HCBS

The Senate Special Committee on Aging met this week to debate the improvement and expansion of home-based services, particularly home-and-community based services, a consistent priority for committee chairman Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). Witnesses and Senators frequently cited. Casey’s Better Care Better Jobs (BCBJ) Act, strongly supported by NAHC, as it is the foundation for the HCBS…

The Better Care Better Jobs Act Means a Stronger Home Care Community

Tell your elected representatives in Congress to support the Better Care Better Jobs Act! Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), long-time champion of in-home care and sponsor of the Better Care Better Jobs Act, has released a set of nationwide and individual state reports on the projected impact his Better Care Better Jobs Act will have on workers and recipients of care…

The Better Care Better Jobs Act Means a Stronger Home Care Community

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), long-time champion of in-home care and sponsor of the Better Care Better Jobs Act, has released a set of nationwide and individual state reports on the projected impact his Better Care Better Jobs Act will have on workers and recipients of care in the home.

These factsheets present a clear and concise picture of the need for Medicaid Home and Community-based Services (HCBS), comparison of cost of care between the home and congregate settings, as well as waitlist length for HCBS Services where applicable. In addition, the factsheets demonstrate the impact the Better Care Better Jobs Act would have on workforce shortages.

“For millions of families, and especially for women, home and community-based services are a bridge to work and a bridge to economic security,” said Senator Casey when introducing the legislation. “The Better Care Better Jobs Act would not only enable more older adults and people with disabilities to remain in their homes, stay active in their communities and lead independent lives, it would also create jobs and lead to higher wages for care workers, who are predominantly women and people of color. This legislation is critical to advancing equity, spurring economic recovery, and improving quality of life for older adults and people with disabilities”

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice is in full support of the Better Care Better Jobs Act and is working with Congress to ensure it is included in the budget reconciliation currently being developed in Congress. President Biden originally called for an investment into the HCBS program to the tune of $400 billion. The most recent house version of the reconciliation package allocated $190 billion, which could be susceptible to further cuts as negotiations work towards a final package.

NAHC encourages members to support robust funding of the Better Care Better Jobs Act andThe reports from Senator Casey can be helpful in these efforts.

The Better Care Better Jobs Act Means a Stronger Home Care Community

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), long-time champion of in-home care and sponsor of the Better Care Better Jobs Act, has released a set of nationwide and individual state reports on the projected impact his Better Care Better Jobs Act will have on workers and recipients of care in the home.

These factsheets present a clear and concise picture of the need for Medicaid Home and Community-based Services (HCBS), comparison of cost of care between the home and congregate settings, as well as waitlist length for HCBS Services where applicable. In addition, the factsheets demonstrate the impact the Better Care Better Jobs Act would have on workforce shortages.

“For millions of families, and especially for women, home and community-based services are a bridge to work and a bridge to economic security,” said Senator Casey when introducing the legislation. “The Better Care Better Jobs Act would not only enable more older adults and people with disabilities to remain in their homes, stay active in their communities and lead independent lives, it would also create jobs and lead to higher wages for care workers, who are predominantly women and people of color. This legislation is critical to advancing equity, spurring economic recovery, and improving quality of life for older adults and people with disabilities”

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice is in full support of the Better Care Better Jobs Act and is working with Congress to ensure it is included in the budget reconciliation currently being developed in Congress. President Biden originally called for an investment into the HCBS program to the tune of $400 billion. The most recent house version of the reconciliation package allocated $190 billion, which could be susceptible to further cuts as negotiations work towards a final package.

NAHC encourages members to support robust funding of the Better Care Better Jobs Act andThe reports from Senator Casey can be helpful in these efforts.

Private Duty Advocacy in Action

Washington D.C continues to buzz with activity as Congress debates the reconciliation package. One element slated for possible inclusion in the package is the Better Care Better Jobs Act, formally known as S. 2210/ H.R. 4131. In literally seconds and with just a few clicks, you can advocate in support of this legislation at the NAHC Legislative Action Network.

Better Care Better Jobs Act

The Better Care Better Jobs Act (S.2210/ H.R.4131) led by Chairman Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), with Chair Patty Murray (WA), and Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-WI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) aims to carry forth President Joe Biden’s vision for investment into Medicaid home and community-based services.

This legislation takes several steps to improve Medicaid HCBS, first through providing funding to state Medicaid programs to ready themselves for the enhanced investment, then through a 10 percent increase to the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP), specifically for Medicaid HCBS.

To qualify for the enhanced 10 percent FMAP states would be required to

  • provide coverage for personal care services;
  • expand supports for family caregivers;
  • adopt programs that help people navigate enrollment and eligibility;
  • expand access to behavioral health care;
  • improve coordination with housing, transportation, and employment supports; and
  • develop or improve programs to allow working people with disabilities to access HCBS.

In addition, the bill aims to strengthen and expand the HCBS workforce by

  • addressing payment rates to promote recruitment and retention of direct care workers;
  • regularly updating HCBS payment rates with public input;
  • passing rate increases through to direct care workers to increase wages; and
  • updating and developing training opportunities for this workforce as well as family caregivers.

Lastly, the legislation would permanently authorize protections against impoverishment for individuals whose spouses are receiving Medicaid HCBS and make the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration permanent

Senator Casey, Chair of the Senate Aging Committee and sponsor of the Better Care Better Jobs Act, has compiled factsheets for every state on the impact of the BCBJ. You can access the fact sheets at the following link: https://www.aging.senate.gov/press-releases/better-care-better-jobs-act-state-by-state-fact-sheets

The full House reconciliation language can be found at the link below with the Better Care Better Jobs Act beginning on page 584: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/BU/BU00/20210925/114090/BILLS-117pih-BuildBackBetterAct.pdf

Become a Private Duty Home Care Advocate

The nation’s private duty home care and nursing community fulfills a unique and essential purpose in modern life. Private duty home care provides critical, quality, home-based care, and living support services for individuals young and old, helping them live full, independent, and connected lives in the comfort of wherever they call home.

NAHC is proud to be the leading and unifying voice for the home care and hospice industries helping to ensure access to the highest quality health care and services at home for all Americans. Advocacy, on behalf of the private duty home care community, is an important part of our commitment to you as our members, but also something you can play an active an integral role in by simply signing up!

Why be a NAHC Private Duty Home Care Advocate?

By signing up to be a NAHC Private Duty Home Care Advocate, you are helping to amplify our voice, strengthen and unify our efforts to help bring access to quality home care and services to center stage and get the support and attention they need to meet the exponentially growing demand.

We encourage you to sign up as an advocate today by visiting the NAHC Advocacy Center

Every Voice, Every Heart, Every Action

#HomeCareFirst #AdvocacyInAction

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