Posted Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Build Back Better Act, a signature legislative priority for the Biden administration and its allies in Congress, passed the House last week. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The Build Back Better Act (BBB) is a $1.7 trillion social spending package that, among other things, creates new Medicare benefits for hearing services and enables the government to negotiate some prescription drug prices to lower the costs that seniors pay for lifesaving medicines such as insulin.

The legislation also contains substantial implications for the future of home and community-based services in the United States, as well as training and development of the direct care workforce.

“Today’s historic vote of support for home care comes at a time when the country needs it more than ever,” said NAHC President William A. Dombi, moments after the vote in the House. “Health care at home is widely recognized as high value, high quality, and highly preferred. From pediatric nursing care to home care aide services for those with multiple chronic illnesses as they age, this legislation will provide improved access to home care. We now look to the Senate to complete the work to protect our families and friends who need this essential care. “

Some highlights of the legislation include:

  • $150 billion investment to bolster Medicaid HCBS, with the goal of increasing access to services, reducing waitlists, and better supporting the direct care workers that provide the bulk of HCBS.
  • $400 million/yr for FY2023-2026for a grant-based program that would bolster frontline caregivers’ access to economic and educational supports.
  • $90 million for various investments to train, educate, and bolster the specialty hospice and palliative care provider workforce, including $25 million in funding for broad-based palliative care and hospice education and training, $20 million for palliative medicine physician training, $20 million for palliative care and hospice academic career awards, $20 million for hospice palliative care nursing, and $5 million for dissemination of palliative care information.

Source: NAHC

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