Today, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), co-chairs of the Senate Finance Committee, announced new drug pricing legislation that includes a provision that would permanently reauthorize funding for the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program.
This legislation, if passed, represents a significant step forward for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and the providers who enable their inclusion in the community. As ANCOR has reported to its members in the past, the MFP program plays a critical role in ensuring people with I/DD can be included in the community by funding transitions from institutional care. However, the future of MFP has been uncertain in recent months as Congress has failed to pass a long-term reauthorization of the program’s funding.
“If this MFP measure passes, it could be one the decade’s most significant legislative victories for community inclusion and the providers who make it possible,” said Barbara Merrill, chief executive officer for ANCOR. “ANCOR is deeply grateful for the leadership of Senators Wyden and Grassley on the MFP program and the range of other ways they’ve supported community inclusion for people of all abilities.”
Today’s announcement marks another milestone in a long history of bipartisanship surrounding MFP, showing that programs that promote community inclusion know no political bias. Funding for the program was initially authorized by President George W. Bush in 2005 and reauthorized by President Barack Obama in 2010 under the Affordable Care Act.
Beyond its bipartisan support, also notable about today’s MFP announcement is the number of congressional champions that have come together to move this critical program forward. “So many congressional champions have joined forces to bring permanent funding for MFP to fruition,” said Sarah Meek, senior legislative director for ANCOR. “We’re especially appreciative of the work of Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and the staff in their offices for remaining committed to this valuable program.”
While today’s news is cause for optimism that MFP will see the long-term funding extension it deserves, passage of this important legislation is not guaranteed. Especially given the range of issues to which Congress must attend in the short term, including controversial debates over impeachment and the FY 2020 budget, it will be up to advocates to ensure the Grassley-Wyden drug pricing bill and its accompanying MFP provision garners significant support from members in both chambers. When the time comes, ANCOR will be ready to equip you with all you need to lend your voice to this important effort. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit the ANCOR Amplifier to identify opportunities to take action.
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