Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Medicare Waiting Period and Medicaid Reform

Finally two bills with compassionate potential for the disabled and those in need.

This from the
Disability Policy Collaboration, Capitol Insider

Medicare Waiting Period and Medicaid Reform


Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Reps. Gene Green (D-TX) and Lee Terry (R-NE) introduced the Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act of 2009 (S. 700/H.R. 1708). This bill would phase out Medicare's two-year waiting period for individuals with disabilities under age 65 who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

Medicaid and Long Term Services and Supports

Last week, two important bills were reintroduced in the Senate and House: the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act) and the Community Choice Act (CCA). The Arc and UCP strongly support these bills.

The CCA was introduced in the Senate (S. 683) by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) and in the House (H.R. 1670) by Representative Danny Davis (D-IL). This bill would require that states provide Medicaid community based support services to people eligible for institutional level of services. The bill would eliminate the institutional bias in the Medicaid program and making great strides toward eliminating waiting lists for community based services.

The CLASS Act was introduced in the Senate (S. 697) by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and in the House (H.R. 1721) by Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ). The bill would establish a national public long term services insurance program that would pay cash benefits to eligible individuals. The benefits would not be means-tested and would not require that people become impoverished in order to receive services. The CLASS Act is expected to take some of the pressure off of the Medicaid program which has become the only significant source of public long term services supports in the nation.