This petition is aimed at helping to keep crucial long term services and supports provisions that will help people with disabilities live independently in the community in the upcoming health reform bill.
The Community First Choice Option will provide an incentive for states to change their Medicaid plans to put community services on par with institutional services, eliminating the institutional bias.
The CLASS Act will create a new middle class voluntary long term services and supports financing mechanism funded by a voluntary payroll tax.
This week the Senate Finance and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committees are merging their separate healthcare reform bills into one single bill that will go to the Senate floor to be debated as early as next week. Two critical provisions that change the way long term services are delivered and funded for people with disabilities are included. These two provisions complement one another and must be a part of the final Senate bill!
The Finance Committee bill includes the Community First Choice (CFC) Medicaid Option. This state option will allow the states to offer broadly defined attendant services and supports in one's home or community setting to individuals eligible for nursing home, ICFs/MR, and other institutional level care. To encourage the states to implement the CFC Option, the state will receive a 6 percent increase in its federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) match for services provided under this option. The CFC moves us one step closer to ending the institutional bias in Medicaid!
The Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee's bill includes the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS) Act. The CLASS Act would create a solvent, affordable, premium-based, national insurance program providing a cash benefit that can be used for assistance with the activities of daily living. This helps state Medicaid budgets because many people will have a way to avoid becoming impoverished by spending down to Medicaid eligibility levels. The CLASS Act complements the CFC Option and Medicaid, Medicare, and private long term care insurance.