Last week U.S. Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives which is identical to the Senate bill S. 2227, the EMPOWER Act. This bill would renew the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program as well as improve it. A bill number has not yet been assigned to the House companion bill – ANCOR will share the bill number when it becomes available.
MFP expired in 2016 and this year states have already begun to run out of their funding reserves for their MFP programs. Those states that have not run out of funding will lose what funds remain in 2020 if the program is not renewed. This is concerning since MFP has been an important program for moving people with disabilities and chronic conditions out of state-run institutions and into the community, moving over 70,000 individuals since its inception. Additionally, the EMPOWER ACT is the only current legislation that furthers Medicaid HCBS which has a chance of passing Congress in a bipartisan manner. Gaining political support for MFP would offer an opening to discuss other IDD and Medicaid provisions of interests to providers.
Please stay tuned for ANCOR action alerts on this topic in the near future. If you wish to begin your outreach in the meantime, please ask your U.S. Representatives to include this bill in the March 23rd budget bill. There are so many issues Congress has to deal with that including MFP renewal in a larger budget bill is the best way to ensure that it passes. If you have questions about preparing for your advocacy on this topic, please direct them Doris Parfaite-Claude, Federal Advocacy and Research Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.