Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging is committed to staying engaged in, and sharing, the latest public policy news affecting older adults, caregivers and the professionals who care for them.
Check out current policy news below!
Racial Disparities and Aging
Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and our partners at the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) are developing a virtual town hall on racial and ethnic disparities and the delivery of Older Americans Act (OAA) programs and services.
We need your help! Please participate in an open-ended survey using the link below to share your insights into the problems and challenges of delivering OAA programs and services to diverse populations. The results of this survey will shape a town hall meeting later in 2020, as well as further actions to be determined.
Economic Stimulus Legislation
On May 15, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act, which would provide an additional $3 trillion in supplemental funding to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the August recess approaches, the Senate continues to negotiate its fourth emergency supplemental funding bill for COVID-19 relief.
On July 27, Senate Republicans released a $1-trillion legislative package, the HEALS (Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools) Act, that does not include many key provisions requested by advocates in the field of aging. The package does include the following funding for Older Americans Act (OAA) programs:
- $35 million for Title III-B supplemental services,
- $20 million for the Title III-E family caregiver program, and
- $3 million for a direct-care worker demonstration project.
That is far short of the $1.1 billion dollars in OAA program funding, especially for nutrition programs, requested by advocates in the field of aging. The package also lacks funding for nursing home reforms, SNAP benefits or Medicaid FMAP (the matching funding percentage the federal government gives states to fund Medicaid programs). The proposed package also allows a national eviction/foreclosure suspension from previous legislation to expire.
Previously passed emergency funding bills include:
- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which contains $250 million in emergency funding for OAA senior nutrition programs.
- The CARES Act (H.R. 784), which includes hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency funding for OAA programs and funding for other programs impacting older adults.
- The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266), which does not include additional funding for OAA programs. The Act does include emergency funding for hospitals and national coronavirus testing.
Older Americans Act Reauthorization Update
In March 2020, the Senate and House of Representatives both unanimously passed the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 (H.R. 4334), a bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, which was initially passed into law in 1965. This bipartisan, five-year reauthorization bill is supported by dozens of other aging organizations, including the members of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations. The bill was signed into law March 25, 2020.
The law provides funds for critical services that help older adults maintain their health and independence, including home- and community-based services, meals, job training, senior centers, caregiver support, transportation, health promotion, benefits enrollment and more.
Important provisions of the bill include:
- Increased authorizations of more than 35 percent over the next five federal fiscal years for every Older Americans Act program, such as The Home-Delivered Nutrition Program.
- Inclusion of social isolation screening and further coordination of services to address this issue, as well as a report on how social isolation is currently addressed in the community through existing services.
- Support to caregivers.
- Establishment of a National Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Center for the aging network.
- Addition of new preventive health measures, such as malnutrition screening. The bill restates the highly successful Falls Prevention and Chronic Disease Self-Management Education programs into the Act.
The Washington Update is produced monthly with our partners at Matz, Blancato & Associates to share the latest information about policy issues impacting older adults and their families. Subscribe here.