June 20, 2018 Advocacy Alert
national call-in day for Friday, June 22 to promote congressional efforts to reauthorize and expand the Money Follows the Person (MFP) home and community-based services program. We hope you will join us in promoting and participating in this opportunity to increase momentum behind bipartisan efforts to continue this critical program!
Since 2005, the MFP program has been instrumental in helping more than 75,000 older adults and people with disabilities transition from institutional settings back to the community. However, funding for the program expired in 2016, and advocates and lawmakers have been working on bipartisan bills in the House and the Senate to extend funding for states to continue rebalancing their Medicaid long-term services and supports (LTSS) programs. Additional funding is essential to expand the success of MFP.
Current Status of MFP Reauthorization
In January, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced a bipartisan reauthorization bill that would extend MFP funding for five years. Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) followed suit in the House shortly after. In both chambers, the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources and Care Act, or EMPOWER Care Act (S. 2227/H.R. 5306) provides funding for MFP through 2022 and would make improvements in the program, including allowing beneficiaries living in institutional facilitates to access the MFP benefit sooner than is currently allowed.
Currently the Senate bill has three Democratic and one Republican co-sponsors. The House bill has 14 Democratic and eight Republican co-sponsors. Leaders on both sides of the Hill are seeking assistance to encourage more co-sponsors for each bill—especially Republicans! That’s why we are participating in this Friday’s national call-in day—and why we’re encouraging you to do the same!
Why Is MFP Reauthorization Important?
Not only does the program increase the independence of older adults and people with disabilities, it has also helped states improve access to home and community-based services (HCBS). When people have access to less-expensive HCBS instead of institutional services, both state and federal governments save money. In fact, independent evaluations have proven that MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and has reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures for participants by nearly 25 percent. n4a and other national advocacy organizations are working to ensure that Congress understands the importance of continuing this valuable program that both improves lives and saves money.
Please participate in Friday’s national call-in day and reach out to your Members of Congress to both educate them about the value of the MFP program—share the MFP success stories in your district and state—and to urge them to support the EMPOWER Act (S. 2227/H.R. 5306) by signing on as a cosponsor. If your Representative(s) or Senators have already co-sponsored the legislation, please thank them and ask them to tell their colleagues to get on board as well!
- Call or email your Members about co-sponsoring the EMPOWER Act! Tell them why MFP is so important to older adults and people with disabilities in your community!
Email: www.senate.gov and https://www.house.gov/representatives.
Outreach on MFP is especially important if your Members of Congress serve on either the House Energy and Commerce Committee or the Senate Finance Committee, which have jurisdiction over this issue. Even if your Members are not on these key committees, it is still critical to reach out and ask them to co-sponsor the EMPOWER Act. Communicate the following message and make sure to personalize your outreach with local success stories!
MFP gives people the right to decide where they live and receive home and community-based services and supports. It helps older adults and people with disabilities transition out of institutional settings back to the community.
Since 2005, MFP has assisted more than 75,000 people move back to the community and has helped 44 states improve access to HCBS. MFP is a program that helps everyone win: individuals regain their independence, and state and federal governments save money because it costs less to provide services and supports in the community rather than in an institution.
Congress must extend funding for MFP or states will be unable to continue this cost-effective program that promotes independence for older adults and people with disabilities. Please consider supporting and co-sponsoring the EMPOWER Act (S. 2227/H.R. 5306) today!
- Encourage your grassroots network to participate in the national Money Follows the Person call-in day THIS Friday, June 22! The national Disability and Aging Collaborative, of which n4a is a member, is hosting a call-in opportunity for advocates to promote MFP to their Members of Congress on Friday, June 22. More information about this opportunity, including one-pagers about both Money Follows the Person and the EMPOWER Care Act, scripts and call-in numbers, is available online.
- Echo your message on social media with #FundMFP THIS Friday, June 22. Join n4a and other organizations and advocates as we take to social media to promote funding for MFP on Friday and beyond! Use #FundMFP to make your voice heard to your Senators on Twitter and Facebook. Use this toolkit with sample messages as a guide.
- Make sure to THANK your Members of Congress if they have already co-sponsored these important bills! If your Member of Congress is a House or Senate co-sponsor of the EMPOWER Care Act already, please express your gratitude for their support of this vital program. And, don’t hesitate to ask if they would be willing to encourage their colleagues and/or delegation Members to join as well!
Note: as you reach out it’s also important to PERSONALIZE the emails you send, including with anecdotes about the MFP successes in your community.
Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue!