One Year Stronger: Neal Underscores Support for Seniors and People with Disabilities
SPRINGFIELD, MA— Nearly one year after the House’s passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) highlighted the Committee’s contributions to the package to better the lives of our nation’s seniors and people with disabilities.
“Nearly two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic struck our nation’s nursing homes and caused widespread harm to residents and staff,” Chairman Neal said. “The American Rescue Plan enabled the federal government to enhance existing programs and fund new research to improve residents’ safety and give their loved ones peace of mind. Additional funding for nursing home strike teams and infection control programs tamped down outbreaks, and investments in targeted vaccination efforts ensured that vulnerable residents received their shots as soon as possible. These critical programs saved lives, but patients and staff need more support. The Ways and Means Committee is committed to building on the ARP with additional investments in skilled nursing facilities, Medicare coverage expansions, and the Elder Justice Act.”
Ways and Means Democrats have set the stage to continue this progress. In the House-passed Build Back Better Act, the Committee included:
- More funding for Elder Justice programs to protect seniors and people living with disabilities from abuse and neglect, as well as funding to improve nursing home care through robust data and transparency measures;
- An expansion of Medicare to include coverage for hearing services and hearing aids;
- Investments in the long-term care workforce through a new program to provide much-needed wraparound supports to bolster this vital part of the health care infrastructure;
- The creation of new programs that address social isolation, training and retention of the long-term care workforce; and linkages between social support services, health services, and legal services to address more effectively social determinants of heath in vulnerable communities; and
- Improved nursing home care through robust data and transparency measures along with long-overdue improvements in staffing standards.
Additionally, last year, Chairman Neal led the introduction of the Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act, which would update federal nursing home policy to improve quality of care and oversight.