Every day, millions of people rely on Medicaid’s home and community based services (HCBS) program. Through this program, people with disabilities and seniors can receive services in their home and community rather than in an institutional or congregate setting. Unfortunately, COVID-19 will continue to put individuals and workers in these settings at greater risk of infection, generating increased demand for HCBS across the country. In many cases, these services provide critical assistance for day-to-day tasks for those that need it, including cooking and eating, taking medication, and getting exercise. For the people they help, they are lifelines to health, independent living, and economic stability.
Legislators are currently debating on adding a proposed $400 billion to Medicaid’s HCBS program – but it is extremely likely that critical funding will be significantly cut in deliberations happening right now. This still remains a possibility even after a recent poll found 76% of Americans support new funding to improve caregiving for people with disabilities and the elderly.
Here's the bottom line: People with disabilities and the aging population are not getting services they need and, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, these services are entitled. This has been a reality for a long time, and these disparities have only grown during the pandemic. In order to solve this problem, the program needs financial support in order to expand services and ensure direct support professionals are given benefits and competitive salaries for this vital work.
Read Home and Community-Based Care Supports Us All by Easterseals CEO Angela F. Williams to learn more about how cutting the budget for HCBS will be devastating for millions of people across the country.
Funding for home and community-based services (HCBS)would support seniors and individuals with disabilities who wish to remain in their communities. Without this funding, states will face increasing pressure to reduce access to these services as demand is increasing, especially due to COVID-19.Help us send a message to Congress and show your support for services that roughly 850,000 people with disabilities are waiting to receive right now.
We are calling upon our nation's leaders to do the right thing and fully fund home and community-based services for the millions of Americans that rely on them each day. This country is going through a crisis, not only when it comes to the pandemic, but in recruiting professionals to do this critical work during the pandemic and ensuring that they are receiving the competitive pay they deserve. Help us spread this message far and wide.
IBT: Home and Community-Based Care Supports All of Us - Easterseals CEO Angela F. Williams
Fortune: In protecting Americans with disabilities, Congress has fallen short. We need a permanent solution - Easterseals CEO Angela F. Williams