Medicaid and Waivers

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides health insurance coverage to low-income children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Eighty million people are covered by Medicaid coverage. This is more than ever before in the history of the program. Medicaid long-term care benefits pay for nursing home care. However, the federal government may grant “waivers” allowing them to expand Medicaid to include home and community-based services.

Each state operates its own Medicaid system, but must conform to federal guidelines. A Medicaid waiver allows states to waive some of the federal rules with the intention of providing services to individuals who wouldn’t normally be covered by Medicaid. The waiver must be approved by the federal government.

A new study from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows the vast majority of Americans want to age at home and want government action to help them do so. 88% of Americans would prefer to receive any ongoing living assistance they need as they age at home or with loved ones. Just 12% want to receive care in a senior community or nursing home.

The Biden Administration should grant more waivers.