Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., is the caregiver for John Dingell Jr., a Democrat who represented Michigan in the House for 59 years.
Dingell mentioned her role as her husband’s caregiver on the House floor Tuesday, shortly before House members agreed, by a voice vote, to pass H.R. 259, a Medicaid extender bill.
If passed by the Senate and signed by President Donald Trump, H.R. 259 would continue a program that uses some Medicaid nursing home money to support home and community-based long-term care (LTC) programs.
The current spending authorization for the program expired Dec. 31. H.R. 259 would keep funding in place through March 31.
H.R. 259 would also continue a related provision that seeks to keep the husbands and wives of people who use Medicaid LTC services from falling into poverty. The spousal impoverishment prevention provision lets states decide how to count the income and assets of a spouse when determining whether an individual is eligible for Medicaid home and community-based LTC benefits.
The House put H.R. 259 on its suspension calendar. The suspension calendar system lets bills with broad support speed through the House without complying with all of the usual procedural rules.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., introduced a bill containing a similar Medicaid home care extender provision in December, when the House was still under Republican control.