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Friday, October 29, 2021

Home Care Update

Robert Holly at Home Health Care News:
President Joe Biden on Thursday went to bat for a significantly trimmed down version of his Build Back Better plan, a massive economic proposal that seeks to expand the country’s social safety net.

“No one got everything they wanted, including me,” the president said in his public remarks. “But that’s what compromise is. That’s consensus. And that’s what I ran on.”

Biden’s update came as the White House unveiled a drastically revised framework for Build Back Better that omits several original goals, including paid family leave and tools to lower drug costs.

The new framework, revised in an effort to achieve full Democrat support, also leaves out free community college and an expansion of the Medicare program.

One thing the $1.75 trillion framework doesn’t leave out: funding for in-home care for America’s older adults.

“The Build Back Better framework will permanently improve Medicaid coverage for home care services for seniors and people with disabilities, making the most transformative investment in access to home care in 40 years, when these services were first authorized for Medicaid,” a White House outline explains.

Specifically, the plan will carve out $150 billion to help reduce waiting lists for in-home care services and improve pay for low-wage in-home care professionals.

A substantial portion of Biden’s public remarks discussed the importance of home-based care, both for seniors and individuals with disabilities. At one point, the president said his home care agenda is “more popular or as popular as anything else we’re proposing.”

Michelle Diament at Disability Scoop:

While the home and community-based services funding is far short of initial expectations, Julia Bascom, executive director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, said she’s glad the program is included.

“$150 billion isn’t enough to end waiting lists nationwide, but it’s still the largest investment in HCBS we’ve ever seen and will do a lot of good,” she said. “Our focus is on getting this bill across the finish line, and then making sure each state takes up the additional funding and improves the services they offer.”

Bascom’s group along with others including The Arc and Autism Speaks spent Thursday urging their members to call federal lawmakers to support added spending on home and community-based services and other priorities in the reconciliation bill.