Readout of Secretary Becerra Virtual Roundtable on the Importance of Build Back Better’s Critical Investments in Home and Community Based Services (HCBS)
On February 17, 2022, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra participated in a virtual roundtable with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) on the need for Build Back Better’s critical investments in Home and Community Based Services (HCBS).
Secretary Becerra highlighted the importance of HCBS that make it possible for millions of seniors and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to live in community and avoid institutions. He provided examples of actions HHS has taken over the past year to help strengthen the HCBS system, under the Biden-Harris Administration. With funding from the American Rescue Plan, HHS was able to begin expanding HCBS, reauthorize the Money Follows the Person program, and provide guidance to states on receiving an additional 10 percentage point increase in HCBS federal matching funds, an estimated $12.7 billion increase in federal spending nationally. HHS also began implementing the Medicaid HCBS Settings Rule, which defined and set standards for “community-based” for the first time and helps move state HCBS systems towards more individualized, smaller settings and away from larger congregate settings.
The Secretary affirmed the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to upholding the value and dignity that comes with access to HCBS. He stressed the need for Build Back Better investments to address the home care workforce crisis, create thousands of sustainable care jobs across the country, and improve the service systems that support people with disabilities and aging Americans.
Following the powerful testimonies by the participants, the Secretary shared his personal story as a caregiver to his father who spent the last years of his life at home with the Secretary’s family. The Secretary said he will keep working to ensure the same opportunity for people to live at home in their communities, with their loved ones.
In closing, the Secretary thanked the attendees and urged them to keep being champions in this fight. He also thanked Senator Casey and Congresswoman Dingell for their leadership in Congress in giving a voice to the workers and families who rely on HCBS, and reiterated his support to work with them on this important issue.
Participants are listed below.
- Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
- Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12)
- Mary Kay Henry, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
- Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)
- Nancy LeaMond, Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer, AARP
- Kevin Prindiville, Executive Director, Justice in Aging
- Ramsey Alwin, President, National Council on Aging (NCOA)
- Maria Town, President, American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
- Elena Hung, Executive Director, Little Lobbyists
- Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc of the United States