The hearing, led by committee chair Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), focused on the need for an investment this year in the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program to avoid the economic repercussions resulting from the exodus of direct care workers from the workforce and family caregivers being forced to reduce hours or leave the workforce to care for family members. Senator Casey stressed that the temporary American Rescue Plan funds for the HCBS program were just the start, and that Congress needs to make a “much greater investment . . . to bring relief to families.”
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also spoke during the hearing in favor of the need to invest in the HCBS program. Ranking member of the committee Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) provided an opening statement that stressed the need for more self-directed care. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) questioned whether greater federal investments produce better outcomes. The panel of witnesses included: Brandon Kingsmore, Disability Advocate and Public Speaker, accompanied by Lynn Weidner, Home Care Worker and SEIU Healthcare PA Member; Alene Shaheed, Home Care Recipient and former Florida Health Justice Project Client; Lisa Harootunian, Associate Director, Health Program, Bipartisan Policy Center; and Anne Tumlinson, CEO, ATI Advisory and Founder, Daughterhood.
ANCOR prepared for the hearing by submitting a written testimony and sending suggested hearing questions to the committee members. ANCOR’s statement was one of 335 statements submitted for the record in favor of an increased investment in the HCBS program.