Becerra Addresses Top Aging Issues Before House Committee

by Libbie Chapuran, LAMN

On March 28, US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee to discuss the President’s FY24 budget proposal. Top aging services issues were discussed, such as the Three-Day Hospital Stay Requirement, Nursing Home Mandatory Staffing Ratios, and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS).

Here are a few highlights from the hearing:

  • Representative Linda Sánchez (D-CA) praised the budget proposal to add $150 billion to fund Medicaid home and community-based services but emphasized that given the aging demographics and need for personal care services amongst our aging population, expanding Medicaid HCBS was not enough to solve the problem. She pressed Secretary Becerra to think about how to fund necessary long-term care outside of the Medicaid program (the only government funding mechanism currently).
  • Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE) asked about some COVID waivers, including the three-day stay, and the impact of these waivers ending with the Public Health Emergency on access to care. Secretary Becerra indicated he would need Congress’s help, and we will follow up with Rep. Smith to pursue his interest.
  • Several members asked about the President’s nursing home reform proposal. The Secretary spoke a lot about the transparency rule and the budget request for more money for program integrity. He also mentioned this budget request in relation to hospice program integrity oversight.