The best things come to those who wait. That old Heinz ketchup slogan may be an apt description for the recent re-introductions of legislation and funding for home- and community-based services (HCBS).

Two major developments occurred Thursday in Washington, DC, for proponents of HCBS. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) in the morning disclosed he was introducing legislation to help fund the Better Care Better Jobs Act, which would support the expansion of Medicaid HCBS. Called the HCBS Access Act, it would establish “a permanent funding stream to keep the infrastructure strong and to make sure we’re able to continue to pay direct care professionals at a rate that ensures qualified, reliable services in a qualified reliable workforce into the future.”

Then an even bigger piece of related news broke: President Biden designated $150 billion for home- and community-based services in his newly released fiscal year budget proposal. For those who don’t follow the play-by-play in the nation’s capital, $150 billion was precisely the amount of the previous Better Care Better Jobs Act, which failed to make it into any legislative package.

To those who doubted such legislation would ever make a comeback, I ask, who would’ve thunk it?

Even more surprising than the reintroduction of key bills is the president’s new outspokenness on this issue. Through his actions on the budget and his words in recent speeches, there is no question where the president stands at this point. He believes that aging in place is the model for growing older.

While passage of any  new legislation is up to Congress (and a divided one at that). aging services providers have a golden opportunity to steer its fate. I am not one to tell people what to do, but it seems to me that if you want a bill containing Better Care Better Jobs or Biden’s funding to pass, the time is now to talk to your senators and representatives. Tell them why HCBS is so important, what the workforce requires to deliver HCBS and how the healthcare system as a whole can benefit.

You, providers, have what most people do not — a second chance. Carpe diem, folks.

Liza Berger is editor of McKnight’s Home Care. Email her at [email protected].