This week, President Biden and congressional Democrats began signaling their interest in taking a new approach to passing the provisions of the Build Back Better legislation, talks over which have stalled in the Senate after the bill’s passage in the House. Some lawmakers have hinted at scaling back and attempting to pass fewer of the proposal’s provisions, while others have suggested breaking the package into several smaller pieces of legislation and seeking to pass each individually.
With all of the political noise emanating from Congress and pundits alike, we call upon legislators to not look away from an important and dark reality: that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who rely on home- and community-based services are drowning in the dual crises of an emaciated workforce and an unrelenting pandemic.
We don’t yet know what a revised Build Back Better legislative package could look like, but what we do know is that whatever form this legislation takes, it is critical that it maintains at least the same nearly $150 billion investment in the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program as included in the House-passed version of the bill. Such an investment is the minimum necessary for states to begin building a sustainable HCBS infrastructure that can start to address the magnitude of unmet need in our communities. This funding would not only strengthen the ability of people with disabilities to live a life with dignity in their homes and communities, but it would create countless jobs and boost local economies.
ANCOR remains committed to ensuring that lawmakers across the political spectrum and on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue hear one message loudly and clearly: regardless of the shape or size of the Build Back Better proposal that becomes law, the final legislation must include at minimum a $150 billion investment in the Medicaid HCBS program.
In the coming days and weeks, we will know more about which avenues exist to get this historic investment in HCBS across the finish line. As we learn more, we commit to keeping you-our valued members and advocates-abreast of the situation and aware of opportunities to act. In the meantime, we appreciate all you do to support the health, well-being, and community inclusion of people with I/DD.
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