A new president means a new administration and new policies. And new policies or changes to existing ones can have effects on the IHSS program. While we don’t know what will happen yet, there are some things IHSS providers and recipients should be aware of as we continue our work to protect and strengthen California’s home care program.
- Congress and the President-elect could change Medicaid from an entitlement program to a block grant program. This means, instead of states being required to cover every person who meets eligibility criteria and provide at least a minimum standard of benefits, Medicaid funds would be given to each state as a lump sum and each state would decide how they want to spend it. There is a high risk that this would result in reduced federal money for a state because block grants do not take into account Medicaid caseload growth or inflation.
What could that mean for IHSS? Benefits and eligibility for Medicaid-funded programs like IHSS here in California could be cut if federal funding is reduced. Remember, 55 percent of funding for the IHSS program comes from Medicaid, so changes to Medicaid funding will be felt by providers and our clients.
- The President-elect pledged to do away with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka “Obamacare”, and Republican leaders in Congress have long called for its repeal.
What could that mean for IHSS? Right now, many UDW caregivers and our families are among the estimated 20 million people who get their health insurance through the ACA. Many of us receive subsidies through Covered California, or receive Medi-Cal through the ACA’s expanded eligibility. In addition, California participates in the Community First Choice Option (CFCO), a program available through the ACA that provides increased funding to states who promote home and community based services like IHSS. Changing or repealing the ACA could mean reduced funding for IHSS and leave many of us without health coverage.
- The President-elect could reverse the recent change to the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that gives home care providers overtime and other benefits that we fought hard to secure.
What could that mean for IHSS? If this happens, federal funding for overtime pay goes away. This likely means the State will stop paying IHSS providers overtime pay, as our law states that it’s only required if authorized by federal law.
- Congress and the President-elect could reduce funding for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as part of broader changes to federal entitlement programs.
What could that mean for IHSS? The majority of our IHSS clients depend on SSI as their only or primary source of income. If SSI is cut, our clients’ quality of life could suffer.
Because IHSS is funded by the state and federal government, its future is tied directly to what happens in Sacramento and Washington D.C. That’s why we must be stronger together – to fight to protect our clients and loved ones in the face of these potential threats to our program.
UDW will keep you posted on how the recent election can and will affect providers, clients, and our families. Want to get involved in our efforts? Call your local UDW office today.