(WASHINGTON DC) On February 16, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) sent a belated “Valentine to America” with the introduction of S. 401, the Medicaid Community-based Attendant Services and Supports Act of 2005 (MiCASSA). S.401 is a piece of Medicaid reform that gives individuals who are currently eligible for nursing home services and institutional facilities equal access to community-based services and supports.
In addition, S. 401 establishes a Medicaid reform demonstration project to evaluate service coordination and cost sharing approaches for those eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare. The legislation also provides additional funding to states to help them with Medicaid reform of their long term care systems while increasing the provision of home and community based services.
“We are grateful to Senators Harkin and Specter for continuing to champion MiCASSA,” said Bob Kafka, National ADAPT Organizer. “ADAPT has been advocating reform of the Medicaid long term care institutional bias for 15 years, and S. 401 is a solid start.”
Co-sponsors of the Harkin-Specter legislation include the following Senators: Edward Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Joseph Biden (D-DE), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jon Corzine (D-NJ), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), and Christopher Dodd (D-CT).
ADAPT will be in the nation’s capitol February 26 – March 2 to secure passage of a resolution at the National Governors Association (NGA) winter meeting that endorses home and community based services.
“We want the NGA to pass the resolution, and to pass the original version of the resolution,” said Cassie James, ADAPT Organizer from Philadelphia. “The current version is significantly watered down from the original. Ironically, the watering down happened in the NGA Health and Human Services Committee, which is co-chaired by Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi. According to three sources of public data, including information from CMS, Mississippi was the first worst state for community services in 2004.”
While in D.C., ADAPT will also be pushing for Medicaid reform in long term care at a meeting with Mark McClellan, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. McClellan has committed to meet with ADAPT at their hotel on Sunday, February 27.