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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

House Passes EMPOWER Care Act

The Politics of Autism includes an extensive discussion of insurance and  Medicaid services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

A June 19 release from Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI): 
The House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) that makes it easier for seniors and the disabled to receive care in their preferred setting without facing bankruptcy or significant financial hardship. Congressmen Fred Upton (R-MI) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) let similar bills with Dingell to strengthen long-term care and aging policies.
The Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019 extends critical programs within Medicaid for 4.5 years including the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration program and extends spousal impoverishment protections for beneficiaries receiving long-term care in a home or community care setting. The MFP program allows certain Medicaid users, such as seniors and individuals with disabilities, to transition from a nursing home or institutional care back to their home. Since the MFP program was created over a decade ago, it has successfully helped over 88,000 individuals receive care in their own homes. The MFP program does not require people to leave institutional care; rather, it allows individuals who choose to go home to do so. Spousal impoverishment financial protections erase the institutional bias that has led seniors to choose more costly nursing homes over impoverishment.

"This nation’s long-term care system is broken. I understand the challenges better than many. Seniors, families, and caregivers are often desperate, stressed, and don’t know where to turn,” Dingell said. "This strong, bipartisan, and long-term extensions of the Money Follows the Person program and spousal impoverishment protections will create better outcomes for people receiving long-term care in the home or in the community. We will never stop pushing for long-term care and aging policies that allow seniors to age with dignity in the setting best for them.”

“The Arc of the United States congratulates the strong group of bipartisan co-sponsors, on the passage of the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019 (H.R. 3253). This bill includes funding for the Money Follows the Person Program for 4.5 years. These funds will ensure that people with disabilities can leave institutions and return back home to their communities. This program has strong data that shows better quality of life for beneficiaries and cost-savings for Medicaid, a win/win. We thank Representative Dingell for her continued leadership on ensuring more opportunities for people with disabilities and aging Americans to have home and community-based long-term services and supports,” said Nicole Jorwic, Senior Director of Public Policy, The Arc of the United States.