HCBS Access Act Would Bring 1 Million People Into Services and Eliminate Medicaid Waiting Lists

The HCBS Access Act Introduced, Bill Would Bring Approximately 1 Million People Into Services and Eliminate Medicaid Waiting Lists

WASHINGTON (March 9, 2023)—Today, Senator Bob Casey (PA), Senator Maggie Hassan (NH), Senator Sherrod Brown (OH), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), and 14 cosponsors in the Senate introduced the Home and Community Based Services Access Act (HAA), a historic investment to make home- and community-based services (HCBS) a mandatory entitlement under Medicaid, ending waiting lists all over the country and bringing at least 1 million people into life-saving care.

The vast majority of Americans would prefer to receive services and support in their own homes and communities as they age or manage disability or illness. In fact, just last week, Caring Across Generations and the Care Can’t Wait coalition delivered a petition to members of Congress signed by more than 98,000 Americans demanding attention on the continuing care crisis, including increased funding for HCBS and the care workforce. This issue is so widespread that 89% of voters across the political spectrum support investing in HCBS so aging adults and disabled people do not have to wait to receive the high-quality care they need and deserve.

The Biden-Harris Administration continues to call on Congress to invest in the country’s care infrastructure, and even included $150 Billion for HCBS in the Fiscal Year 24 budget plan.

The current patchwork of programs to provide long-term care in this country does not meet the growing need for these services, forcing family members to fill the gaps and choose between taking care of their loved ones and keeping their jobs, as well as forcing older adults and disabled people who need care to choose between going without necessary care or leaving their homes and communities. All of these intersecting issues would be addressed when the HAA becomes law.

HAA would help solve this crisis by:

  • Bringing approximately 1 million people into services and eliminating waiting lists by requiring state Medicaid programs to provide HCBS to all who are eligible
  • Supporting high-quality jobs for people in the direct care workforce by increasing wages and benefits and protecting the right to organize and providing funding for recruitment, retention, training, and professional development
  • In practice making Medicaid portable across state lines by establishing consistent, guaranteed benefits across every state
  • Supporting family caregivers with resources for out of pocket expenses and allowing HCBS recipients to hire their family members as caregivers

Below is a statement by Ai-jen Poo, executive director of Caring Across Generations:

“Let’s be clear: Congress has the power to end Medicaid waiting lists and help 1 million people receive services they need and deserve, keeping families together in their homes and communities. Older adults, disabled people, family caregivers and care workers have been waiting for far too long for an investment in care services and the care workforce.

“It’s more critical now than ever before that Congress finishes the job for the tens of thousands of Americans who have long demanded investments in home- and community-based services and the care workforce to allow aging adults and disabled people to live with independence and dignity. Addressing the care crisis by building the care infrastructure and workforce our families and economy need is a crucial jobs strategy.

“The Home and Community Based Services Access Act represents a historic investment in a long undervalued and underfunded care industry. We applaud Senator Bob Casey, Senator Maggie Hassan, Senator Sherrod Brown, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, and Congressman Jamaal Bowman for their leadership on this issue.

“The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. If Congress doesn’t take this issue seriously, millions of us will continue to struggle to do what matters most: care for the people we love.”


Caring Across Generations is a national campaign of family caregivers, care workers, disabled people, and aging adults working to transform the way we care in this country so that care is accessible, affordable and equitable— and our systems of care enable everyone to live and age with dignity. 

To achieve our vision, we transform cultural norms and narratives about aging, disability and care; win federal and state-level policies; and build power amongst the people touched by care. For more information, visit caringacross.org.