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Vanessa Barrington

White Paper: An Oral Health Benefit in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care

By | Health Equity, ISSUE BRIEF, Medicare, Oral Health | No Comments

Oral health is an integral part of overall health. Oral health problems can adversely affect one’s ability to maintain optimal nutrition, self-image, social interactions, and mental and physical health. Oral health problems can lead to chronic pain, tooth loss and serious infections. Poor oral health can even worsen chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Older adults need timely and affordable access to dental care in order to maintain their health and well-being, yet, there is currently no mechanism for most older adults to access care. Contrary to what many believe, Medicare does not include an oral health benefit. Most older adults cannot afford to purchase private oral health insurance or pay out-of-pocket for the care they need. As a result, 70 percent of Medicare recipients have limited or no dental coverage, and fewer than half see a dentist each year.

A new White Paper, An Oral Health Benefits in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care discusses how a Medicare Part B dental benefit would close disparities in dental use and expense between the uninsured and insured and among older adults with few financial resources and limited oral health education. The paper also details how such a benefit could be structured and the legislative changes that would need to happen before such a benefit could be established.

Finding Housing When Mom Doesn’t Speak English

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

Next Avenue: Finding Housing When Mom Doesn’t Speak English, (May 8, 2018) It’s not easy for anyone to be uprooted from a home and for an older adult with minimal or no English, it can be especially challenging. But, for consumers, planning ahead, researching your rights and stepping in to assist can help create the best outcome. Justice in Aging attorney, Denny Chan offers advice on how family members can learn their rights and help limited English proficient loved ones receive person-centered, culturally competent care throughout this piece.

Are Uber and Lyft Ready for Medicare?

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

Bloomberg Health: Are Uber and Lyft Ready for Medicare? (April 24, 2018) App-enabled ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are eager to work with Medicare plans, which could fund transportation as a supplemental benefit to enrollees. In this piece on the Bloomberg Health blog that summarizes a longer piece on the outlet’s paid platform, Justice in Aging attorney Georgia Burke cautions that drivers would need training in order to help older adults and people with disabilities who need door-to-door service.

Assisted Living: A $10 Billion Industry with Little Oversight

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

Governing Magazine: Assisted Living: A $10 Billion Industry with Little Oversight (April 2018) A February report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found significant shortcomings in oversight of assisted living facilities across the country. It found significant shortcomings in oversight of assisted living facilities across the country, but “barely scratches the surface” of the problem, said Eric Carlson when interviewed for the piece.

Wheelchairs Prohibited in the Last Place You’d Expect

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

The New York Times: Wheelchairs Prohibited in the Last Place You’d Expect (April 30, 2018) A lawsuit was filed in New York against a number of assisted living facilities for  discrimination against people in wheelchairs and for violating the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal laws. The facilities had all been found denying potential residents because they use wheelchairs. Part of the problem is that assisted living facilities are mainly regulated by the states, and many state laws are out of date and do not comply with federal non-discrimination law. Justice in Aging attorney Eric Carlson noted for the article that the percentage of assisted living facilities covered by Medicaid is growing.

Happy 40th Birthday to Disability Rights California!

By | Newsroom | No Comments

Justice in Aging joins Disability Rights California, in celebrating its 40th Anniversary. For 40 years, DRC has advanced and protected the rights of Californians with disabilities and each day their work makes a difference!  We are proud to have partnered with Disability Rights California in numerous cases, including Kelley v. Kent, Oster v. Lightbourne, Darling v. Douglas, and Martinez v. Astrue.  To read more about these cases, visit our litigation page.

#DRC40yrs.

How Medicaid Work Requirements Could Hurt Older Americans

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

U.S News and World Report: How Medicaid Work Requirements Could Hurt Older Americans. (April 20, 2018) Since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services opened the door to state waivers that would impose work requirements on many Medicaid recipients, some states have requested and been approved such wages. In this article, Justice in Aging attorney, Eric Carlson talks about the amicus brief we filed to block Kentucky’s waiver.

Justice in Aging Statement on Proposed 2019 Budget

By | Statements | No Comments

President Trump’s proposed FY 2019 Budget is yet another attack on the health and economic security of older adults and people with disabilities. After using the latest tax bill to give away trillions of dollars in tax cuts to America’s wealthiest, the Administration is attempting to pay for those tax cuts by slashing critical programs that keep older adults in their homes, allow them to visit their doctors, and ensure they can meet their basic needs.

This budget would take us backwards by increasing poverty and making it harder for people to get the health care they need. It goes against what Congress wants and what the public wants. In its 2018 budget, Congress recently increased spending for important and popular programs. Those gains would disappear in 2019 under this budget.

The American people do not want cuts to Medicaid or the repeal of the ACA, yet this budget renews calls for slashing Medicaid by more than $1.4 trillion over the next decade through block grants and per capita caps, as well as repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As we have explained, such cuts would be devastating to low-income older adults who rely on Medicaid to support their health care needs and ability to stay in their homes, leave millions without coverage, and weaken consumer protections.

The President promised the American people he wouldn’t touch Medicare, yet his proposed budget for the next ten years calls for over $490 billion in cuts to a program that every American will need.

The budget also would make it harder for older adults to pay rent, put food on the table, and meet their basic needs. The budget proposes significant cuts of over $83 billion to Social Security, primarily through cuts to Social Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. These programs are there for people who have no or little income and are the difference between home and a life on the streets for many.

Additionally, the budget proposes dramatic cuts to nutrition assistance, eliminates funding for home heating and cooling assistance for about 6 million low-income households, and calls for the complete elimination of the Legal Services Corporation, which provides vital legal help for low-income older adults and their families.

This budget is a true window into the misplaced priorities of this President and his Administration. On the heels of a massive tax cut that will increase income inequality, this budget proposes to make life even more difficult for America’s poor older adults and people with disabilities.

By joining together we have fought back successfully against previous attempts to cut the programs older adults and their families rely on, and we will continue to fight for justice for us all as we age.

Read our joint statement with Medicare Rights Center, and the Center for Medicare Advocacy

 

Joint Statement: President’s Budget Targets Key Health Care Programs; Millions of Older Adults and People with Disabilities at Risk if Implemented, Advocates Warn

By | PRESS RELEASE | No Comments

Washington, DC—The President’s annual budget request is, at its core, a statement of values. It is incredibly troubling then, that President Trump’s budget blueprint for FY 2019, submitted this week, again prioritizes deep cuts to programs on which older adults and people with disabilities rely, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.

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