On March 23, 2018, the president signed the fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations “Omnibus Bill” into law. The Bill provides funding for services and supports on which older people and people with disabilities rely. Fortunately, many misguided proposals that would have significantly reduced funding for these critical programs were rejected. Older people, people with disabilities and their families can rest a little easier knowing that programs that help them live with dignity and security will continue (for now). In particular, we are grateful that the following funding was included in the Omnibus:
- Funding increase for Medicare State Health Insurance Program
- Funding increase for National Institutes of Health
- Some Older Americans Act (OAA) programs also received additional funding, including supportive services and senior centers, National Family Caregiver Support Program and some nutrition programs
As Congress turns its attention to the fiscal year 2019 appropriations process, The Center for Medicare Advocacy will continue to fight against any cuts that will harm older people and people with disabilities. In the Administration’s FY 19 budget request, we’ve already seen harmful proposals to cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security disability programs, Medicare State Health Insurance Programs (SHIPS) and elder justice programs. Through sustained advocacy, these misguided proposals were defeated in the FY 18 Omnibus, and they must be defeated again in the FY 19 appropriations process.
As we highlight some of the bright spots in the 2018 Omnibus, we are concerned that the Money Follows the Person program was not extended and support to stabilize the health insurance Marketplace was not included. Money Follows the Person provides critical support to help older people and people with disabilities access home and community- based services. The health insurance Marketplace enables older people and people with disabilities – who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare – gain access to quality health insurance. We call on Congress and the Administration to work together to ensure both of the programs get the attention and funding they need.
- See the FY 18 Funding Table from the National Council on Aging at https://www.ncoa.org/wp-content/uploads/FY18-Senate.pdf