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Policy Update: 2-14-19

Federal Update

CFPB Announces Rollback of Payday Lending Protections

This week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its plan to roll back the central protections of the agency’s 2017 payday and car-title lending rule. The plan eliminates the rule’s underwriting standards, which require lenders to verify a borrower’s ability to repay their loan. The payday lending business model relies heavily on a borrower’s inability to repay their loans, resulting in severe financial consequences.

Congressional Budget Deal Released, Expected to Pass

On Monday, Congressional negotiators announced that they reached a deal “in principle” on FY19 appropriations in time for the February 15 deadline. On Wednesday, the President signaled that he might be willing to sign the deal potentially avoiding another harmful shutdown. Last night, Congressional leaders released the bipartisan spending package, and the House is expected to vote later today. The spending package builds on the 10% increase in HUD funding that advocates and congressional champions secured in FY18 by providing $1.5 billion in new resources in FY19. For more details, see NLIHC’s detailed description of the budget agreement, and their updated budget chart.

Update: Senate approves deal to avert shutdown, sends measure to House

Congressional Hearings on Housing

On Wednesday, February 13, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing on “Homeless in America: Examining the Crisis and Solutions to End Homelessness.”

Today, the Committee will hold another hearing on affordable housing,  “The Affordable Housing Crisis in Rural America: Assessing the Federal Response.”

National Housing Trust Fund at Risk

One of the NC Housing Coalition’s national partners is calling for signatures to a letter urging lawmakers to protect the National Housing Trust Fund. Under the Obama administration, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt took steps to ensure funding for the national Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund. Director Watt’s term ended in January. FHFA Acting Director Joseph Otting stated that FHFA “is reviewing its options,” related to contributions to the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund. President Trump’s nominee for FHFA director, Mark Calabria, goes before the Senate Banking Committee on today for a confirmation hearing. The HTF is the first new federal housing resource in a generation, and it is exclusively targeted to help build and preserve housing that is affordable to people with the lowest incomes.

State Update

North Carolina Announces Healthy Opportunities Pilot

In October 2018, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved North Carolina’s 1115 waiver for a five-year demonstration period. The waiver provides the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services authority to transition its fee-for-service delivery system to a managed care program and, as part of the transition, important flexibility to implement a groundbreaking “Healthy Opportunities” pilot program in select regions to promote value through evidence-based interventions designed to address non-medical factors that drive health outcomes and costs.

“We want to build and innovative, whole-person centered, and well coordinated system of care that addresses medial and non-medical drivers of health.” Secretary Cohen of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

While high-quality medical care is crucial, up to 80 % of a person’s health is determined by social and environmental factors like housing. Through the Healthy Opportunities Pilots, funded with $650 million of state and federal money over five years, Medicaid managed care plans are expected to cover evidence-based interventions targeting four key areas:

  • housing stability;
  • food security;
  • transportation access; and
  • interpersonal safety.

The payment structure will offer incentive payments during the first two years of the waiver, payment withholding for failure to meet defined metrics in the next two years, and shared savings during the final year based on performance on outcome- and process-related quality measures. Fore more information on the Healthy Opportunities, click here. For more information on the broader Medicaid Reforms, click here.

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