by Shannon McCracken, Vice President of Government Relations, ANCOR
When asked to reflect on 2021, it is a challenge to remember it as anything other than year two of the pandemic, year two of COVID-19, and year two (twenty-two?) of an ever-deepening workforce crisis. But there are many bright spots to reflect upon, both for our members and here within ANCOR’s Government Relations team.
The Biden administration’s early commitment to ANCOR member priorities was unprecedented, with a $400 billion proposed investment in the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program. This commitment set the stage for advocacy and work on Capitol Hill that resulted in both the one-year 10% FMAP bump for HCBS in the American Rescue Plan, and the Better Care Better Jobs Act, introduced by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) that creates policy to improve the home- and community-based services infrastructure, as well as investment in the direct support workforce like never before. While that policy is pending passage of the Build Back Better Act, the second reconciliation package of the year (thanks to the passionate advocacy of ANCOR members) that provision is enjoying support among over 80% of American voters across party lines in Congress. At this moment of uncertainty and deep division in our country on nearly every issue, and the Senate literally split down the middle, this broad support is powerful, rare, and absolutely thanks to the core of our membership.
Another bright spot in 2021 was our virtual Policy Summit in October! During the Summit, we heard from CMS, the White House Disability Policy Council, NAMD, NASDDDS, Leading Age, Caring Across Generations and so many other partners committed to advancing ANCOR’s key policy agenda. We were also honored to bestow leadership awards to our advocacy champions like Christine Touvelle, Amy Staed, Lynne Megan, Shelly Chandler and Ann Hardiman. We ended the Summit by bestowing ANCOR’s inaugural Congressional Legacy Award to Senator Bob Casey.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t reflect on the changes within our own GR team here at ANCOR. While we bid a fond farewell to some staff members who laid the groundwork for the important work ahead, we welcomed a familiar face to a brand-new role when Lydia Dawson became ANCOR’s Director of Policy, Regulatory and Legal Analysis. We also welcomed Elise Aguilar as our new Director of Advocacy, and in January we will welcome our newest team member, our new Director of Federal Relations, who we can’t wait to introduce you to! I could not be more excited for you to interact with this dynamic team in 2022.
Thank you all again for every action alert that you repsonded to, every call you made and every email you sent to support our work and raise our collective voice. We could not do it without you! We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season to you all!
Shannon McCracken is Vice President of Government Relations at ANCOR. She can be reached at [email protected].
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