NCD Letter to House Leadership Regarding Reauthorization of Money Follows the Person

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September 28, 2018

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
United States House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader
H-204, The Capitol
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:
I write on behalf of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency that provides advice to the President, Congress and other federal agencies regarding disability policy, to urge the House move forward with the reauthorization of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. The “Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care Act’’ or the ‘‘EMPOWER Care Act,’’ H.R. 5306 as reported out of the Energy and Commerce Committee on September 5th, renews the funding for this important program for one year. NCD recommends extending the program for a minimum of three years to ensure that grantee states can administer their programs to the maximum benefit of individuals with disabilities. Over its 40 years, NCD has consistently provided policymakers with advice that advances the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act, equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency, and MFP is an important piece of ensuring these goals are achieved, while simultaneously demonstrating fiscal responsibility in the cost savings the program represents over institutional level care.

NCD has long identified as a top public policy priority the moving of individuals out of public and private institutional settings into home and community-based settings. After examining national data, we’ve found that “…smaller, more dispersed and individualized community settings further integration and positive outcomes for individuals with disabilities.” Consistent with our research findings, NCD recommends continuing the Money Follows the Person Program, first authorized under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, to give people who need long-term services and supports (LTSS) more choices about where they live and receive care and to increase the capacity of the state LTSS systems to provide services in the community.

MFP has an established track record and has already made a difference in the lives of 63,000 people with disabilities who have been able to transition out of institutional care and into their communities. These individuals experience improvements in their quality of life that are sustained over time. The program has also helped 44 states rebalance their LTSS systems in favor of home and community-based services and fostered interagency collaborations within states between health and housing services that will improve the ability of people with disabilities to live in their communities for generations to come. Finally, MFP data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that in the first year after transition, costs associated with participation in MFP for Medicaid and Medicare were $978 million dollars less than the cost of institutional care.

Given the measurable successes of this program that improves the lives of people with disabilities who rely on long-term care services, helps states rebalance their systems in favor of home and community-based services, saves money, and advances the goals of the ADA nationally, NCD strongly recommends reauthorizing and extending this program for three years. Please contact Phoebe Ball, Legislative Affairs Specialists regarding this letter at (202) 272-0104 or pball@ncd.gov with any questions you may have. NCD stands ready to work with members of Congress to ensure that MFP remains an effective program for years to come and to answer any questions about MFP that your offices may have given our past research and advice to Congress in the area.

Respectfully,

Neil Romano
Chairman