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ACTION ALERT: Contact Congress for HCBS Covid-19 Relief Funding!

 

February 17, 2021 | by Amber Smock

Access Living friends and allies:

Today, disability advocates nationwide are participating in a national call in day to make sure that Congress understands that Covid-19 relief packages need to include funds for home and community based services (HCBS). HCBS include personal care, homemaker services, direct support and more. Check out the action alert below from our friends at the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). Please contact Congress today!

From NCIL: Action Alert: Join Today’s HCBS Call-In Day!

Congress has approved a budget resolution to clear the way to move a COVID-19 relief package forward, and last week House Committees started introducing their bill text and holding mark-ups. The House Energy and Commerce Committee included a 7.35% FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentage) bump for home and community based services (HCBS) for one year. See more information at this link, including the language.

We know this targeted funding for HCBS is critical for keeping disabled people out of congregate settings where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly. We need to make sure this funding remains in the final package!

Take Action

It is urgent that Congress hears from us! Today, Wednesday, February 17, NCIL and other disability and aging organizations are holding an HCBS Call-In Day. Contact your Representative and tell them how important it is to include dedicated HCBS funding in the COVID-19 relief package!

  • Call your Representative: Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). Ask to be connected to your Representative.
  • You can find your Representative’s contact form at https://www.house.gov/representatives
  • You can find your Representative’s phone number, Twitter handle, Facebook page, and other contact information on Contacting Congress (https://contactingcongress.org/).
  • You can use Resistbot to turn texts into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters by texting “RESIST” to 50409.

A sample script and sample tweets are below – please feel free to personalize.

Sample Script

Hi, my name is (NAME), and I’m from (CITY, STATE).

I am (calling / writing) to urge you to make sure dedicated funding for Medicaid home and community based services is included in the final COVID-19 package. It is critical that you to include the needs of disabled people in this package.

We have seen rampant rates of infection and death in congregate settings. Many disabled people rely on HCBS to live in their own homes, but people are struggling to stay there. Without more funding, many more people will be forced into nursing homes and other congregate settings, where they will be at much greater risk of catching COVID-19. The need for dedicated HCBS funding is more urgent than ever.

Thank you for your time. I hope I can count on you to protect your disabled constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Your name)

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL OR EMAILING: please leave your full street address and zip code. This will ensure your call or email is tallied]

Sample Tweets

Congress MUST fund Medicaid home and community based services in the COVID relief bill. #HCBS ensure disabled people can access the services we need safely at home – not in dangerous institutions where #COVID19 outbreaks are rampant. #MedicaidCantWait

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on disabled people and older adults. After NO FUNDING in 2020, we are glad to see dedicated #Medicaid #HCBS in the current COVID package. Congress must be sure it stays in until the bill becomes law! #MedicaidCantWait

About half of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in congregate settings. Congress must provide dedicated funding for Medicaid #HCBS so disabled people & older adults can stay safely at home with the services and supports we need. #MedicaidCantWait

Medicaid covers critical in-home care and supports, but current funding doesn’t meet the need & people are being forced into institutions where most #COVID19 deaths are occuring. Congress needs to #FundMedicid now and help people stay safe in our homes.We’re calling on Congress to pass the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill that includes targeted funding for #Medicaid #HCBS so disabled people & older adults can receive the services & supports we need at home, where we are at less risk of #COVID19. #MedicaidCantWait

The New @CLPolicy Brief on Dedicated HCBS Funding shows what disability and aging advocates have been saying since the pandemic began. Without #HCBS funding disabled people and older adults will not be able to access the services that we need: https://heller.brandeis.edu/community-living-policy/docs/covid-brief-2021-02-10.pdf

Please share this action alert widely.