Plan To Renew Program That Moves People Out Of Institutions Advances
Lawmakers are pushing forward with plans to renew a federal program that helps people with disabilities move from institutions to community living.
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill to reauthorize a Medicaid program known as Money Follows the Person late last week by a voice vote.
The program, which expired in September 2016, has provided states some $3.7 billion to help over 88,000 people leave nursing homes and institutions for group homes and other community-based settings since it was established in 2005.
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With nearly every state running out of funds to continue Money Follows the Person, disability advocates have been pressuring Congress to act.
The so-called EMPOWER Care Act, or H.R. 5306, that lawmakers advanced would provide $450 million in funding to renew Money Follows the Person for one year.
The measure will now head to the full House for a vote while a companion bill that’s been introduced in the Senate is awaiting action. Both versions have bipartisan support.
Advocates say they hope to see final approval from Congress by the end of the year and are encouraging people with disabilities and their allies to call their representatives in support of the legislation.
“I am pleased with the action in the House and I think it is positive that there is so much bipartisan support,” said Nicole Jorwic, director of rights policy at The Arc.
“I think we are all optimistic about something happening in lame duck,” she added, referring to the upcoming congressional session following the November election.