Saturday, January 27, 2018

EMPOWER people to move into communities

Funding for an important Medicaid program has run out; but Sen. Cantwell is co-sponsoring a bill to refinance it

The future of a program that has helped more than 75,000 people with disabilities and seniors move out of nursing homes and institutions is in jeopardy.

Enacted in 2005 with strong bipartisan support, Money Follows the Person (MFP) is one of the longest running, most successful Medicaid demonstrations.

Money Follows the Person improves the lives of people with disabilities, and does so in a more cost-effective way than institutional settings. By favoring community-based services, states save money and see better outcomes for their residents. That’s why nearly every state has participated in the program. Independent evaluations have shown Money Follows the Person improves the quality of life for individuals, and reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23 percent.

Unfortunately, MFP expired September 30, 2016, and states are running out of funding. As a result, states are scaling back their programs, reducing dedicated staff and crucial resources. Last year was the first time that the number of people transitioned to the community declined.

Washington's Senator Maria Cantwell and Ohio's Senator Portman have introduced bipartisan legislation (EMPOWER Care Act - S. 2227) to improve and extend the program for five years. If this issue is important to you, you should contact Senator Cantwell and Senator Murray.

Why people like the program:
  • Money Follows the Person brings people with disabilities and older adults back home to their communities and gives people greater control over their lives. 
  •  The program helps keep families together.
  • It’s fiscally responsible. Money Follows the Person improves the quality of life of individuals while saving states and the federal government Medicaid funding. 

You can find more information and talking points here.

Consider taking action: Call, post, email

Activists with the Center for Public Representation (CPR) have called for a National Call-In Day on Thursday, February 1. Asks: Will you co-sponsor? Will you work to pass the bill immediately?
  • You can reach Senators Cantwell and Murray through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY); just ask to be connected to your Senators. 

Activists with CPR are coordinating a National Social Media Day on Friday, February 2. Ask: Tweet, or post on Facebook about the program, using #FundMFP in your posts.

  • If Tweeting, be sure to tag senators so they see it. You can find their Twitter handles here:
Activists with CPR are also organizing an email campaign through February 8. Ask: Congress, please consider Money Follows the Person during negotiations on the budget and other extensions of health-related programs in the coming weeks.

You can also use a pre-crafted email here. By entering your zip code, the site will automatically address the message to your senators. You’re invited to personalize the message if you wish.