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Casey Holds Hearing on How American Rescue Plan Helps Seniors and People with Disabilities During Pandemic

Pittsburgh Witness Testified on Importance of Home and Community-Based Services

Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing entitled, “COVID-19 One Year Later: Addressing Health Care Needs for At-Risk Americans.” The hearing focused on the current state of health care and supports—including vaccine access—for seniors, people with disabilities and communities of color and the continuing threats that the pandemic poses for these populations. During the hearing, Chairman Casey highlighted how the American Rescue Plan will help these communities stay safe during the pandemic and put the country on the road to economic recovery.


“One year into the pandemic, we have lost more than 538,000 of our fellow Americans—these were our mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, neighbors and friends,” said Chairman Casey. “The pandemic highlighted inequities in health care, housing, employment and education that long preceded the pandemic and exacerbated the public health and economic crises we are currently experiencing. But there is light at the end of this dark tunnel, and I am pleased that the historic American Rescue Plan was recently signed into law. I secured key provisions in this legislation that will help keep residents and workers in nursing homes safe, ensure that everyone who wants to can get vaccinated and provide critical funding for home and community-based services for seniors, people with disabilities and front-line workers.”


The American Rescue Plan includes provisions authored by Chairman Casey that will:

  • Improve vaccine outreach and distribution;
  • Invest nearly $12.7 billion in home and community-based services;
  • Fund efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes;
  • Allocate $775 million for home-delivered and congregate meals;


Chairman Casey invited Dr. Amy Houtrow, a pediatric rehabilitation physician and professor at the University of Pittsburgh to testify. Dr. Houtrow detailed how the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted people with disabilities. “As we plan for the future, we must assure the health and safety of people living in congregate settings, but we should also develop and promote strategies to keep older adults and people with disabilities living in their homes with the supports and services they need,” said Dr. Houtrow. “To do this we need to strengthen home and community-based services and develop a more robust home care workforce. It behooves us to improve these services because most people desire staying in their homes, and according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) home care is less costly than residential care. The $12.7 billion fought for by Senator Casey in the American Rescue Plan for expansion of Medicaid home and community-based services is an excellent step…”


Read more about the American Rescue Plan.