The Empower Care Act gets individuals with disabilities and seniors out of nursing homes and back in their communities. The Act funds the Money Follows the Person program (MFP) which has assisted more than 91,000 individuals in moving into a setting of their choice and has helped 43 states and the District of Columbia improve access to home and community-based services (HCBS).
United Spinal supports the Empower Care Act – a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate (S. 548) by Senators Portman (R-OH) and Cantwell (D-WA) and in the House (H.R. 1342) by Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY 2nd) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12th). We urge Congress to support people with disabilities and pass the Empower Care Act with long-term funding of MFP.
Congress has passed multiple short-term extensions of MFP funding this year, most recently passing the Sustaining Excellence in Medicaid Act of 2019 (H.R. 3253), which was signed into law on August 6, 2019. This law provides additional funding for the MFP program that should last until the end of 2019, but states need long-term funding for this program so that they can focus on transitioning people out of nursing homes and into the community rather than dealing with the threat of losing federal funding for this program every few months.
In addition to the funding for the MFP program, the Sustaining Excellence in Medicaid Act of 2019:
- Excludes the income/resources of the eligible individual’s spouse in assigning eligibility for Medicaid HCBS
- without such exclusions in place, members of our community might lose their Medicaid eligibility or be forced into a nursing home.
United Spinal supports passage of the Empower Care Act with long-term funding for MFP; and, the disregard of spousal income/resources to assign Medicaid HCBS eligibility.