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Connections - 01.31.23

Public Policy Update: Building on 2022 for a Brighter 2023

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Last year was an incredible year for ANCOR’s policy initiatives, led by the ANCOR Government Relations team and driven by the actions of all of you as ANCOR’s members. Together, we contacted our members of Congress through emails, calls, and tweets over 24,600 times—not to mention the in-person visits that took place last year, including more than 135 congressional visits that ANCOR members joined during the 2022 Hill Day.

Additionally, providers, families, individuals, direct support professionals, ANCOR staff, and other supporters came together on a photo campaign, the #AllInForHCBS campaign, where you helped us spread the message far and wide on social media on why home- and community-based services (HCBS) are important in our communities and why Congress should act now to support the HCBS program.  

ANCOR members were also critical to the success of sounding the alarm bells on Capitol Hill about the worsening direct support workforce crisis impacting our members, with more than 700 providers completing the 2022 Direct Support Workforce Crisis survey last fall.

With the release of the survey results, on November 3, ANCOR hosted a bipartisan congressional briefing sponsored by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI), and Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY), which saw registration from more than 30 congressional offices and 350 individuals. The briefing highlighted the findings from the survey and called on Congress to make additional investments in the direct support workforce. 

Thanks to ANCOR’s relentless advocacy, there were several policy victories last year.  

Last year, many ANCOR members expressed concern over the upcoming March 2023 deadline for full compliance with the HCBS Settings Rule and raised those concerns to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In response, in May, CMS announced the release of its slide deck detailing how states can use corrective action plans to request additional time to comply with staff-dependent provisions of the HCBS Settings Rule due to the direct care workforce crisis. The response from CMS was critical in acknowledging the concerns expressed by ANCOR members and in granting flexibility for full compliance. 

Additionally, in December 2022, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, also known as the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus bill. While this legislation did not contain broad funding for HCBS, it did include several provisions that will strengthen the HCBS program and empower people with disabilities. For example, the legislation extending the increased federal match (FMAP) for U.S. territories permanently and for Puerto Rico through 2027. The omnibus legislation also extended the Money Follows the Person demonstration program, which provides funding to help individuals transition from institutions to community settings, through 2027. Finally, the omnibus bill raises the age limit for eligibility for ABLE accounts, allowing individuals to qualify for ABLE accounts up to age 46. 

Aside from policy wins, there were additional noteworthy successes in 2022.  

ANCOR’s Government Relations team took on new leadership roles among our coalition partners. Shannon McCracken became legislative chair of the Partnership for Medicaid coalition. Lydia Dawson became co-chair of the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities Long Term Services and Supports Task Force. 

This past year was a record year for the ANCOR Disability Champions Political Action Committee (PAC). The PAC grew exponentially, expanding its member base and smashing its fundraising goals. In 2022, PAC members raised more than $33,000—the most the PAC has raised in any year since it began in 2018—which included donations from 84 new individuals. The PAC hosted its first in-person bipartisan fundraiser and attended events with 14 different members of Congress. The PAC also had a 100% success rate, with every PAC-supported House and Senate candidate winning reelection. 

ANCOR also continued to lead the way in garnering support for alternative payment models (APM) for I/DD long-term supports and services. The ANCOR APM committee has been tracking five key states and APM programs since 2018, which have been leading the field in delivering quality outcomes and providing value over volume of service.

After examining the programs’ status following the pandemic, ANCOR worked to distill the most successful components of the existing models and made recommendations to shape three models based on those components. In the coming year, ANCOR will work with state and federal partners to advance these models in pursuit of quality outcomes and financial sustainability in I/DD services. 

Building on the successes of 2022, ANCOR is looking forward to a productive 2023, especially as Congress begins its new 118th legislative session. For more on ANCOR’s policies and ways to stay engaged, check out ANCOR’s advocacy page and the ANCOR amplifier.

Elise Aguilar is Director of Federal Relations at ANCOR.