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The $ 1.9 billion House coronavirus relief bill includes a proposal that could help keep some seniors out of nursing homes.
The bill calls for a 7.5% increase, or about $ 10 billion, in additional federal Medicaid matching funds for home and community-based services.
The additional funding will allow states to provide additional care at home and in the community, which could help move more people off waiting lists and prevent them from going to nursing homes.
In addition, the money would also allow states to increase the salary of caregivers and provide support to family caregivers, as well as protective equipment and training to help prevent Covid-19.
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The coronavirus relief bill passed the House on Saturday and moves to the Senate for consideration. Democratic lawmakers hope to send the bill to President Joe Biden for final approval next week.
It remains to be seen whether Senate Republicans, who have disagreed with the level of spending on the package, will accept this proposal. No House Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, an advocacy group, applauded the inclusion of the aid in the legislation and recognized the past efforts of Representatives Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., And Frank Pallone, DN.J., for helping to get the change included in the bill.
“Given how dangerous nursing homes have been, nursing home residents who have Covid infections, this is crying out more than ever for home and community care,” said Dan Adcock, director of government and policy relations for the National Committee for Preserve Social Security. and Medicare.
The move is something the advocacy group has been pushing since before the Covid-19 pandemic.
But it has been difficult to make changes, in part, because of a bias toward institutional care in the Medicaid program, according to Adcock.
With the change, people who are already in a Medicaid-paid home or community setting will be able to continue to have a quality of life in which their exposure to Covid-19 is minimal, Adcock said.
At the same time, it can give people in nursing homes a chance to transition to home or community care, he said.
“Most people who need long-term care would prefer to receive it in their own home rather than being transferred to a nursing home,” Adcock said.
Like all proposals in the House stimulus bill, the change will need to be approved by the Senate for it to pass.
“I think it’s likely on the final bill that goes to the president’s desk,” Adcock said. “But we are going to continue defending him in the Senate.”