Obama Budget Proposes $10 Million Boost for Aging Programs

Five U.S. states may soon participate in a pilot program meant to create a more streamlined approach to delivering long-term care supports and services (LTSS) across the continuum of care— that is, if President Obama’s $4.1 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2017 comes to fruition.

Obama sent the budget proposal to Congress on Tuesday. Fiscal year 2017 begins on Oct. 1, 2016.

The proposed budget seeks to expand access to Medicaid home and community-based LTSS in an attempt to guarantee that seniors and people with disabilities receive services in the most appropriate setting.

Specifically, the budget gives states the option to expand eligibility for the Community First Choice and 1915(i) home and community-based state plan options.

The proposed budget also establishes a comprehensive long-term care pilot for as many as five U.S. states to test a more streamlined approach to delivering LTSS across the continuum of care. The states participating in the pilot program would receive enhanced federal funding.

If the proposed budget passes, an additional $10 million would also be allocated for aging programs, such as in-home personal care, respite care, and transportation assistance, bringing the total amount dedicated to the programs to $358 million. That’s in addition to a $2 million increase for the Lifespan Respite Care program, which is intended to ease the burdens of caregiving.

The 2017 budget also includes $8 million in discretionary resources for the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) program, which is meant to make it easier for Americans across the country to learn about and access their health and long-term support and services options.

“Providing a variety of supportive services that meet the diverse needs of older individuals is crucial to enabling them to remain healthy and independent in their homes and communities,” the budget states.

The release of the White House budget proposal kicks off a process of negotiations with Congress, which in recent years has been openly hostile toward the President. Some have insisted that the fiscal year 2017 budget, Obama’s last, is essentially “dead on arrival” due to a Republican-controlled Congress.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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