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President Continues Commitment on HCBS Funding

Friday, April 1, 2022

Last October, President Joe Biden announced his Build Back Better (BBB) Act, a far-reaching, $2.2 trillion (yes, that’s trillion) plan that invests in a number of areas, including education, labor, child care, health care, immigration, and the environment.  As first proposed, the BBB Act included several things that would help persons with disabilities:

  • $150 billion for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to allow more people with disabilities to get care in their home or community rather than in institutional settings. 
  • $450 million more per year to the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program to help states support more options for community living.
  • $1 billion to support direct care workers, who provide essential supports to people with disabilities in their homes and communities. Funds would support better wages and benefits for direct care workers, as well as grants to states for training and education opportunities.
  • Permanently extend Medicaid protections against spousal impoverishment for HCBS. This protection allows one person in a married couple to receive HCBS services without their spouse having to become less financial stable to support them.
  • Support more meaningful job opportunities with fair pay for people with disabilities by investing $270 million for state grants for competitive integrated employment options that support people with disabilities in the workforce.

Although the US House of Representatives passed the BBB Act in November, the Act failed to make it past the Senate. President Biden is now putting together a new BBB plan (what we're calling for now Build Back Better 2.0) and we want to make sure the pieces that benefit persons with disabilities are included in these future plans.  This type of investment, along with what you are reading about above on the state level, are game changers for Iowans with disabilities.  

 

  • Home and Community Based Services (HBCS): Right now more than 17,000 Iowans with disabilities are on the HCBS waiting list. Iowa needs more HCBS options and the BBB Act would provide funding to do just that by reducing HCBS waiting lists and allowing more people with disabilities to live and work near family and friends.

  • Direct Care Workers: Direct support professionals provide support for people with disabilities in their homes and communities. These workers deserve a competitive wage, benefits, and support to do their jobs well. The BBB Act would support fairer pay and better benefits for these essential workers.
  • Protect Spouses: Currently, Medicaid allows one person in a married couple to receive HCBS services without their spouse having to become less financially stable to support them. But this is only a temporary rule. The BBB Act would make this protection for spouses permanent.


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