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Senator Grassley Introduces New Bill to Incentivize Medicaid Community-Based Options

June 30, 2015

Late last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, introduced a measure to provide financial incentives to states for increasing communitybased services for people with disabilities. The Transition to Independence Act (S.1604) aims to reduce subminimum wage positions, segregated employment options, and day habilitation placements for people with disabilities receiving Medicaidfunded home and community-based services (HCBS), while increasing integrated employment. The bill establishes a fiveyear demonstration program in 10 states that would provide financial incentives to participating states which meet certain benchmarks.

The demonstration program would encourage states to increase Medicaid payments to supported employment providers, develop a state-level equivalent of the federal Schedule A special hiring authority mechanism for people with disabilities, offer state tax credits to employers that hire working-age people with disabilities receiving HCBS, and end use of vocational rehabilitation funding for segregated and congregate placements.