Better Care Better Jobs Act
An investment in people, an investment for the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has evidenced something the disability community has long known: institutionalization is detrimental—even dangerous—to people with disabilities and seniors. Nationwide, about a third of all COVID-19 deaths were people living in long-term care facilities; many of these deaths could have been prevented had Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) been established and adequately funded in every state. HCBS are critical for allowing people with disabilities and seniors to remain in their own homes, where they may continue to lead independent, productive, and meaningful lives as a part of the community.
Building on the $2.7 billion short-term HCBS funding passed as a part of the American Rescue Plan, the Better Care Better Jobs Act (S. 2210 / H.R. 4131) would provide $400 billion to HCBS.
This crucial funding would:
- Address insufficient reimbursement rates for HCBS to improve workforce recruitment and retention. These increases in reimbursement rates are largely required to pass-through directly to workers. Increased wages will also translate to additional general, non-family direct care workers, who may provide respite services as needed for existing family direct care workers.
- Create a transparent and stakeholder-driven mechanism to reevaluate HCBS reimbursement rates every two years, providing HCBS long-term stability by keeping reimbursement rates and wages competitive in the job market.
- Expand HCBS into states currently lacking HCBS infrastructure, allowing for more Americans to remain in their homes and communities.
The Better Care Better Jobs Act (S. 2210 / H.R. 4131) would also:
- Make the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Rebalancing Demonstration permanent. MFP helps people with disabilities and seniors move from institutions into the community. Not only does MFP benefit individuals, but it has produced a 23% cost savings on average per person in Medicaid programs.
- Create permanent spousal impoverishment protections, meaning people with disabilities and seniors would no longer have to choose between their love, the care they need, and their financial wellbeing.
Unlike many other states in the United States, Arizona has long-standing HCBS care infrastructure; however, this infrastructure is crumbling with insufficient reimbursement rates. Increasing the desperately needed reimbursement rates would:
- Allow direct care service agencies to be able to pay direct care workers a fair and competitive wage, incentivizing them to enter and remain in the job field.
- Decrease direct care worker turnover, which increases consistent and quality care for individuals with disabilities and seniors.
- Ultimately allow services to continue for individuals who would otherwise face unnecessary and unwanted institutionalization.
We are now at a crossroad: make a meaningful investment and long-term commitment to Home and Community-Based Services now or risk the safety and future of our lives. Ask your legislators in the House and Senate to invest in people, to invest in the future by supporting the Better Care Better Jobs Act. We cannot afford to wait.
Download this article – Better Care Better Jobs Act Fact Sheet
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History of the ADA
Learn more about the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act by listening to this podcast or download the podcast transcript.