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House Passes Bills to Improve Medicaid, Including Dingell Provisions

Washington, DC, March 25, 2019

The House of Representatives passed a bill to make improvements and extend critical programs in Medicaid including two provisions led by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI). Dingell is the lead cosponsor on provisions to help seniors and those with disabilities receive long-term services and supports in their homes and communities and temporarily extend spousal impoverishment protections for seniors on Medicaid.

“When someone in the family needs long-term care, the system is complicated, confusing, and broken for families and caregivers. Programs like Money Follows the Person and protections against spousal impoverishment create better outcomes and have proven successful,” said Dingell. “While I am pleased these programs will be extended through the end of September and not allowed to lapse, this is only a partial victory. Both the Money Follows the Person program and Spousal Impoverishment protections need to be extended for the long-term, not a few months at a time. Seniors and individuals with disabilities deserve the peace of mind that these important provisions will be there for the long-term, and states need stability and certainty in order to fully implement these efforts.” 

The package of health bills passed by the House includes:

  • An extension of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration Program through the end of September, a highly effective program first authorized in 2005, which provides a way for elderly and disabled patients to move from institutional care to home or community-based services. 
  • An extension of spousal impoverishment protections for seniors who receive long-term care in their home or a community setting. This extension is also through the end of September.

Dingell has introduced legislation to ensure the long-term success of these programs. Dingell introduce the bipartisan Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources (EMPOWER) and Care Act with Brett Guthrie (R-KY) which extends the Money Follows the Person demonstration program for five years. Additionally Dingell and Fred Upton (R-MI) introduced the bipartisan Protecting Married Seniors from Impoverishment Act to permanently extend spousal impoverishment protections for Medicaid beneficiaries receiving long-term care in a home or community care setting.

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