Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. ANCOR is thrilled that the HEROES Act includes lifeline provisions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the Medicaid-funded supports on which they rely in order to be safe during the pandemic.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their service providers have been the pandemic’s forgotten faces, and ANCOR applauds the House of Representatives for heeding our call for support for these essential services.
At the same time, we know that the essential provisions of the HEROES Act have a long road to travel before becoming codified law. As the legislation moves onto the Senate, our community of providers must remain diligent in urging Congress to continue prioritizing these provisions, especially in light of the exclusion of Medicaid programs from disbursements of Public Health & Social Services Emergency Fund resources to date.
In particular, we must continue to fight for the inclusion of the following provisions in whatever form the next COVID-19 relief legislation will take:
A 10% increase in funding for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS), the largest program supporting people with I/DD.
Identification of direct support professionals as essential workers, thereby making them eligible for increased wages capitalized by the “Heroes Fund.”
Additional funding for the Public Health & Social Services Emergency Fund. To date, Congress has appropriated $175 billion to this fund, but the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has failed to allocate any of this relief to community disability providers.
“These provisions will be critical to ensuring that community providers will not only have the capacity to weather the coronavirus storm, but also to remain in business and financially sustainable after the pandemic is over,” said ANCOR President Robert Budd. “The pandemic’s forgotten faces simply cannot afford to be forgotten any more, and we’re grateful for House leaders who have acknowledged that Medicaid-funded providers have reached a breaking point.”
“We are greatly encouraged that the HEROES Act makes deep investments to protect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the direct support professionals on which they rely, and we know it couldn’t happen without the thousands of advocates who have responded to ANCOR’s efforts to mobilize,” said Barbara Merrill, ANCOR CEO. Shannon McCracken, vice president for government relations at ANCOR, added, “As the Senate begins deliberation, our task is to ensure the HEROES Act remains as the framework within which our lawmakers take bipartisan action to get resources in the hands of people who need them the most.”
As always, ANCOR remains committed to keeping you informed about the latest developments in Washington related to COVID-19, and will keep you apprised of opportunities to lend your voice to our advocacy efforts.
For 50 years, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ancor.org) has been a leading advocate for the critical role service providers play in enriching the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). As a national nonprofit trade association, ANCOR represents 1,600+ organizations employing more than a half-million professionals who together serve more than a million individuals with I/DD. Our mission is to advance the ability of our members to support people with I/DD to fully participate in their communities.
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