The future of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program that has helped more than 88,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions is in jeopardy!
Background: MFP significantly improves the lives of older adults and people with disabilities by assisting them to transition out of institutional settings. By favoring community-based services, states save money and see better outcomes. That’s why nearly every state has participated in the program!
Independent evaluations have proven MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and has reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23%. Without reauthorization, states will stop transitions to the community. Without action NOW, more people will be stuck in institutions.
Act Now: Congress passed $112 million stop-gap funding for the program in January 2019 (H.R. 259). We anticipate those funds will run out before the end of the fiscal year in many states. We urge Congress to pass the EMPOWER Care Act (S. 548, H.R. 1342)!
Major Recent Events
Education: House Committee Holds Hearing on Harmful Use of Seclusion and Restraint
On February 27, the House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled “Classrooms in Crisis: Examining the Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint Practices.” Witnesses were Dr. George Sugai, Professor, University of Connecticut; Mrs. Renee Smith of Rhode Island, the parent of a young child with autism spectrum disorder who experienced frequent restraint and seclusion; Ms. Allison Sutton, Special Education Teacher, Wichita Public Schools; and Ms. Jacqueline Nowicki, Director of Education Workforce and Income Security, Government Accountability Office (GAO). The Arc worked with its state office in Rhode Island to recruit the parent witness and support her testimony.
Visit the Committee website for more information and to access archived video of the hearing. This hearing took place in anticipation of the reintroduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act in the coming weeks. The Arc greatly appreciates the Subcommittee’s effort to bring needed attention to the harmful and unnecessary practices of restraint and seclusion, which are disproportionately used on students with disabilities. The Arc also appreciates Mrs. Smith’s willingness to tell her family’s story about their difficult, but ultimately successful, experience in obtaining the proper supports in school.
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.
Health/LTSS: Medicare for All Plan with LTSS Coverage Introduced in the House
On February 28, Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019, which expands Medicare to cover all residents. It also eliminates all out-of-pocket costs for all benefits except prescription drugs and expands benefits to include long term services and supports (LTSS), among other things. The Arc supports including provisions to address the need for LTSS in any comprehensive health reform proposal.
Education: Scholarship Tax Credit Bill Introduced in the House and Senate
On February 28, Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced bills (H.R.1434 and S.634) to provide a 100% federal tax credit for donations to organizations that provide scholarships for private schools. The Arc opposes this bill because schools accepting scholarships indirectly supported by the tax credit are not required to follow the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or the accountability provisions under the Every Student Succeeds Act. See The Arc’s position statement on education, including school choice.
The Arc of Illinois
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