Advancing Home and Community-Based Services Through Budget Reconciliation

Congress is finalizing budget top level numbers that will give Congressional committees direction on creating the final budget reconciliation package. Budget reconciliation requires a simple majority in the Senate for final passage, unlike most other legislation which requires 60 votes. However, all 50 Democratic Senators will be needed for passage, as there is no Republican support. 

Legislative language from the Better Care Better Jobs Act, which calls for $400 billion for home and community based services and supports for the direct care workforce, will be part of the reconciliation package. However, some lawmakers have proposed reducing HCBS funding to $150 billion.

The $400 billion is absolutely critical to providing long-overdue and much needed support for home and community-based services, including respite, for children and adults with disabilities, older adults, and their caregivers. The funding would be made available to states through a permanent 10% Medicaid FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentages). The investment would also help strengthen the direct service workforce.

The National Respite Coalition signed onto a letter sent by a broad coalition of disability, aging, civil rights, and consumer organizations to Congressional leadership urging them to include and prioritize the full $400 billion to support access to Medicaid home and community-based services. 

ACTION:  Call your members of Congress at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to retain the $400 billion in budget reconciliation. You can also find their contact information here. The devastating effects of the pandemic for people with disabilities, older adults, and their caregivers, cast a harsh light on the severe shortage of HCBS and direct care workers and community options. The full $400 billion is necessary to ensure that HCBS is accessible to all in need.