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Health Reform: An Action Plan for Housing Advocates
Solutions Brief | March 25, 2011
Files: PDF | 259 KB | 3 pages
There is little question that certain aspects of health care reform will benefit chronically homeless individuals and contribute to more stable housing for them and others at risk of homelessness. Specifically:
To ensure that these things happen, homelessness advocates must get involved. As ACA implementation proceeds along many tracks in 2011, this document will help you with some steps to take and points to make.
The Medicaid expansion takes effect in 2014, while some of the additional Medicaid benefits for people with disabilities could begin to come online in individual states in 2011 and 2012. Currently, the best opportunities for homelessness advocates are to influence consumer strategies for implementation and reach state policymakers with clear messages about access to relevant health care services and ending homelessness.
Homelessness advocates represent and understand a challenging segment of high-cost health care consumers. We can inform the path to more cost-effective strategies and practices, and should be part of planning for changes in Medicaid.
The ACA can support community innovations in a broad way. By extending comprehensive coverage to virtually all adults, it promotes access to health care as a factor in successful independent living. Therefore, the ACA contributes to housing stability for chronically homeless individuals and families.
If health reform is to help end homelessness, states must embrace the new flexibility for Medicaid HCBS:
For More Information
The National Alliance to End Homelessness analyzes key parts of the ACA through the lens of advocacy to end chronic homelessness – Can Medicaid Reform Make a Difference for Homeless Individuals?, National Alliance to End Homelessness, February 2011.
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness suggests ways to connect health reform with initiatives to end homelessness: http://www.usich.gov/HealthReform.html#No1.
Priorities for Providers of Permanent Supportive Housing: The Corporation for Supportive Housing has resources that help explain health care issues in the context of housing strategies: http://www.csh.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=4496&nodeID=81.
The National Health Care for the Homeless Council has a Medicaid toolkit and other resources to keep up with relevant changes in health care policy.
For further questions, contact Lisa Stand.