Essential Disability Rights Bill Advances in Congress
‘Money Follows the Person’ Program Would Allow More People With Disabilities to Get Care at Home Rather Than in Institutions
WASHINGTON — The House Committee on Energy and Commerce voted the EMPOWER Care Act (H.R. 5306) out of committee today, legislation which, if passed, would reauthorize the Money Follows the Person program.
MFP allocates federal funds to move people with disabilities out of nursing homes and institutions and into their own homes. The current MFP authorization expired in September 2016, and without this bill, states will run out of funds by the end of this year.
Since 2005, the program has supported the transition of more than 75,000 people in 43 states and the District of Columbia into their communities and has been responsible for significant and lasting improvements in quality of life for people with disabilities.
Vania Leveille, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, had the following response:
“Today’s vote was an important step forward. For the disability community, Money Follows the Person is not just a health care program — it is the vehicle that empowers people to live independently instead of in a nursing home or institution. Institutional life isolates people with disabilities and deprives them of the autonomy, liberty, and self-determination that the ACLU believes in for all people.
“While any reauthorization is preferable to none, Congress should provide for a longer-term reauthorization, as the uncertainty of a single year reauthorization may limit the program’s effectiveness. We urge Congress to pass this bill as quickly as possible for the longest reauthorization possible.”
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