Legislator pushes for more HCBS services for Medicaid beneficiaries

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Medicaid beneficiaries would have an opportunity to receive more care in a home or community-based setting if a House of Representatives bill passes.

The Community Integration Act of 2014, introduced by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) last week, cites the Olmstead decision as envisioning “long-term services and supports to individuals with disabilities through home and community-based services and end forced segregation in nursing homes and other institutions.” It also calls for states to develop a plan for more affordable housing for those with physical disabilities within 180 days of the legislation starting.  

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Senate version of the act in June. 

The American Bar Association released a letter Friday praising Cartwright and the bill, saying that “HCBS should become a mandatory Medicaid service.”

"The Community Integration Act would help to remove the barriers that currently stand in the way of certain individuals' having the opportunity to receive care in the community setting – an ideal that was expressed in Olmstead,” wrote Thomas M. Susman, ABA Director, Government Affairs Office.

Cartwright also introduced a bill last week that would amend the Social Security Act to “permit the 2-year phase-in for changes in hospital wage index classification from rural to urban without requiring waiver of a wage index increase.”