Members of the U.S. House could vote this week on H.R. 259, a bipartisan bill that includes a provision that could affect long-term care (LTC) planners.
The bill would keep a Medicaid home-based and community-based LTC program alive. The bill would also let states extend efforts to keep a couple’s use of Medicaid home and community-based LTC programs from eating up all of the income and assets of the care recipient’s spouse.
The new Democratic leaders of the House have put H.R. 259 on their “suspension calendar,” or list of bills that can be passed quickly, without a recorded vote. In the past, the House has voted on most suspension calendar items on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, according to the Congressional Institute.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. is the bill’s sponsor.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., is the bill cosponsor.
The House convened at 2 p.m. Eastern time today and then took a break that’s set to end at 4 p.m., according to the House live video feed. The House could start voting on suspension calendar bills around 6:30 p.m. today, according to the website of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
H.R. 259 Details
Medicaid uses a combination of federal and state money to pay for health care for the poor, and for nursing home care for people who meet state and federal eligibility requirements.
H.R. 259, the “Medicaid Extenders Act of 2019″ bill, would continue the Medicaid Money Follows the Person Rebalancing demonstration program.
The Medicaid Money Follows the Person program encourages states to experiment with using Medicaid nursing home benefits money on services that can keep elderly people and people with disabilities in their own homes. States can use the program to pay for programs such as home health aide services, personal care services, homemaker services, information services and adult daycare services.
H.R. 259 would provide $112 million in funding for the program for fiscal year 2019.
Federal fiscal year 2019 started Oct. 1.
A provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires a state to apply its Medicaid “spousal impoverishment” rules when deciding whether an individual is eligible for Medicaid-LTC services.
That provision was set to begin Jan. 1, 2014, and end Jan. 1, 2019.
H.R. 259 would extend the spousal impoverishment protection period until March 31, 2019.