For Immediate Release: October 28, 2021
Contact: Jess Davidson, email@example.com
Washington, D.C. – This morning, President Biden announced a $1.75 trillion Build Back Better budget agreement among Congressional negotiators. This agreement includes $150 billion in funding for home- and community-based services for Medicaid-eligible people. If passed, this would be the largest-ever investment in home-and community-based services (HCBS), and the most substantial investment in affordable health care since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) released the following statement:
AAPD celebrates the news that a framework agreement for the Build Back Better budget has been reached. This includes a historic $150 billion dollar investment in HCBS, which would be the single-largest investment in the program in its history. Today’s news represents a significant milestone in the decades-long fight by disabled activists to ensure any disabled or aging person who needs support in their activities of daily living can do so from the comfort of their own homes, and with the integrated support of their communities.
In addition, it includes several disability-focused investments that further the goals of building a more inclusive nation and economy. Among these investments are $300 million in grants for encouraging employers to transition from using 14c certificates to paying at least minimum wage and transforming to competitive integrated employment and $450 million set aside for supportive housing for people with disabilities.
“This $150 billion investment in home- and community-based services within the Back Better framework will be an unprecedented investment that will improve the lives of disabled people, our families, and direct support workers. If passed, this negotiated package is a critical down payment towards fully realizing the rights conferred to people with disabilities by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Olmstead Decision. We are excited about the potential for significant progress in a decades-long fight by disabled people for the right to live our lives and receive services in our own homes and communities,” said Maria Town, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities.
“While $150 billion will be a historic investment, and one that we will work to ensure Congress passes quickly, it is not enough to fill all of the gaps in our social infrastructure. We will continue advocating so that every person in every state can access the supports they need to thrive and every worker is treated with the dignity they deserve — including paid family and medical leave for every worker.”
Fighting for justice and progress can be full of setbacks, disappointments, and compromises. Today’s framework announcement includes its share of those, too. AAPD affirms our commitment to President Biden’s original proposed agenda, including paid family leave for every American worker, full Medicare and Medicaid expansion that includes vision and dental, and funding for HCBS that is substantial enough to clear every single person from Medicaid waiting lists.
We can acknowledge the work that remains ahead while also pausing to celebrate our successes. In fact, the sustainability of our movement depends on us prioritizing joy and celebration. Today, we celebrate this monumental step toward ensuring every single person who needs to receive supports and services can do so with dignity in their homes and communities. Tomorrow, we will return to working with our cross-movement coalition of disability rights, labor rights, and gender justice organizations to ensure that no one is left behind in our efforts to Build Back Better, together.
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization, AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the over 61 million Americans with disabilities by promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation. To learn more, visit the AAPD website: www.aapd.com.