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Senate To Consider Changes To Medicaid Waiver


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Health care policy options released this week by the Senate Finance Committee include ideas to change the way people become eligible for and utilize the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waiver.

The waiver is a federal program administered by the states, which provides funding for people with disabilities to live in the community and obtain support services. There are currently long waiting lists for the waiver in many states.

The Senate Finance Committee is creating policy options as part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to reform the American health care system. The committee will discuss options related to Medicaid during a meeting on Thursday.

The options pertaining to the waiver include:

• Requiring states to lift their caps on the number of waiver recipients to include more people. Or, prohibiting states from using waiting lists to prevent eligible individuals from accessing services.

• Eliminating a current requirement that in order to obtain funding from the waiver individuals must need an institutional level of care.

• Giving states more latitude to determine income requirements for waiver eligibility.

• Allowing individuals to enroll in multiple Medicaid waivers at one time.

• Increasing the federal match for the waiver by 1 percent.

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Comments (2 Responses)

  1. bylou13 says:

    Yes, the waiver program does need change.
    It is about time that Congress took action to reduce the size of waiting lists. Since the states hand out the money, and private providers (for the most part) use it for clients, I would submit telling the states to reduce the size of waiting lists will not solve the problem for private providers can simply say they have no vacancies when they do not wish to accept a given client. Back a few years ago, private providers would ‘kill’ to get a waiver client since it was guaranteed money. But, since more and more clients have more severe disabilities, private providers are reluctant to accept them. And, that just leaves the client hanging out to dry. Why not think – ‘The client comes first!’. Placing a client should not be based on whether the client has a waiver or not; it should be based on what the client needs.As Michael Berube (1996) says, “…we collectively cultivate our capacities to imagine our obligations to each other.” Why not use waivers for those who do not need institutional care? The clients frequently have no income, and they need society’s help to live a decent life. Let’s hope that Congress has the wisdom and courage to make the changes they propose.

  2. ericdonald1 says:

    hi my name is eric and my concerned about the provisional rules in maine and I hope that congress will pass the new rules in reguards to the section 21 wavier

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