AARP Pennsylvania celebrated the inclusion of a $50 million increase in Home and Community Based Services funding from the Pennsylvania Lottery in the 2013/14 Pennsylvania Budget signed into law by Governor Corbett Sunday evening.
“This funding will begin to reverse the cuts in services many older Pennsylvanians have experienced the past few years,” said Ray Landis, Advocacy Manager for AARP Pennsylvania. “AARP members are pleased the Governor and the General Assembly have listened to the desire of older Pennsylvanians to receive long-term care services in their homes and communities.”
The $50 million increase for home and community services will enable many county Area Agencies on Aging to reduce their waiting list for services. Additional funding will be available for family caregivers and senior centers, as well as for individuals eligible for Medicaid who get home and community based care instead of going to a nursing home.
The budget also held the amount transferred from the lottery to the Medicaid Nursing Home budget steady at $309 million. “We believe lottery funds should be used for programs to help older Pennsylvanians remain at home and in their communities, but we’re pleased that the trend of increasing the amount of the transfer was halted in this budget,” Landis noted.
AARP PA also applauded the Pennsylvania Senate for voting 40-10 for a Welfare Code bill that expands the Medicaid program in Pennsylvania, a move that is vitally important for many 50-64 year olds without health insurance. “The bi-partisan Senate vote shows the broad popular support for Medicaid expansion,” said Landis. “We now urge the House to approve this legislation today or tomorrow and Governor Corbett to sign the bill into law.” Agreeing to Medicaid expansion means Pennsylvania would extend health care coverage to an estimated 542,000 uninsured residents by 2022 at no cost to the state for the first three years and no more than 10 percent of the cost in the future.
“An expanded Medicaid program will greatly improve access to health care coverage for hard-working people who desperately need it, and infuse the state’s economy with hundreds of millions of dollars, adds Landis”