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Fact Sheet: Medicaid Funding Caps Would Harm Older Americans

By | FACT SHEET, Medicaid, REPORTS, Uncategorized | No Comments

On February 16, 2017, Republicans released their latest proposal outlining their ideas to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. This proposal radically changes the Medicaid program by capping the amount states will receive in federal funding to deliver healthcare to low-income individuals. These capped proposals, either block grants or per-capita allotments, aim to catastrophically cut Medicaid and eliminate important consumer protections currently in place.

States will be forced to make difficult choices regarding what services they can deliver and what populations they will be able to serve, placing increased pressures on state budgets. Crucial programs that allow seniors to age at home rather than receiving care in institutional settings are at risk.

This latest replacement proposal does not come close to the improved coverage and affordability offered through the ACA for older adults. The plan will increase the cost of care and limit access to health care for older adults, especially low-to-middle income older adults. Specifically, the plan decreases tax credits, reintroduces high-risk pools for the most sick, and increases the availability of health savings accounts that provide little benefit for low to middle income consumers.

Justice in Aging has developed a new fact sheet showing how cuts to Medicaid through capped Medicaid funding would hurt older adults. For more detailed information on how capped funding would impact older adults, see our issue brief.

Advocates Warn Congress of Dangerous Consequences of ACA Repeal and Delay for Seniors and People with Disabilities

By | PRESS RELEASE, Uncategorized | No Comments

OAKLAND – On January 13, 2017, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging, Medicare Rights Center and 65 other organizations that represent older adults and people with disabilities wrote Congressional leadership expressing grave concern about repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In particular, the organizations urge that any legislation to repeal the ACA be rejected unless it is accompanied by a detailed replacement plan that provides American families with equal or improved access to high-quality, affordable health coverage.

“Repealing the ACA without an immediate replacement could cause 30 million Americans who rely on expanded Medicaid and the individual market to lose health coverage. Over 4.5 million people ages 55 to 64 could lose coverage and the share of uninsured people in this age group could double—from 8% to 19%,” the letter cautioned.

Center for Medicare Advocacy Executive Director Judith Stein stressed that ACA repeal would also harm Medicare and Medicaid. “The Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid are all intertwined. Repealing ACA will reduce access to health care in myriad ways, with repercussions for most families throughout the country. It’s a dangerous prescription.”

Justice in Aging’s Executive Director Kevin Prindiville underscored the impact of ACA repeal on the most vulnerable older adults living in poverty. “By weakening Medicare and Medicaid, repealing the ACA would have tremendous, negative consequence for the health of all of the older adults in our communities – but especially the millions who are living in or near poverty. Instead of repealing the ACA, Congress should be working to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid and make health and long term care more affordable and accessible for all seniors.”

Medicare Rights Center’s President Joe Baker warned of the negative consequences of ACA repeal on people with Medicare. “The rush to repeal and delay the Affordable Care Act will take our nation backwards. Before the health law, seniors went without needed medications when they fell into the donut hole and people with disabilities had no affordable coverage during their two-year wait for Medicare. People with Medicare and their families cannot afford to take these costly steps back.”

Read the full letter

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The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., established in 1986, is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan law organization that provides education, advocacy and legal assistance to help older people and people with disabilities obtain fair access to Medicare and quality health care. The Center is headquartered in Connecticut and Washington, DC with offices throughout the country.

Justice in Aging is a national non-profit legal advocacy organization that fights senior poverty through law. Formerly the National Senior Citizens Law Center, since 1972 we’ve worked for access to affordable health care and economic security for older adults with limited resources, focusing especially on populations that have traditionally lacked legal protection such as women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and people with limited English proficiency.

The Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs and public policy initiatives.

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WEBINAR: Oral Health Basics for Low-Income Older Adults

By | Uncategorized, WEBINAR | No Comments
When: Thursday, January 19, 2017 11:00 a.m. PT/ 2:00 p.m. ET

Low-income older adults have significant oral health needs. Unfortunately, they face serious obstacles to obtaining care in large part due to complex and limited health insurance options. This webinar, Oral Health Basics for Low-Income Older Adults, provides a summary of what dental coverage options are available to older adults, a summary of covered and non-covered benefits, how different coverage options work together, and other barriers older adults face in accessing dental care. The webinar also provides advocates and community-based providers the opportunity to share what their clients are experiencing. Read More

WEBINAR: Strategies & Promising Practices for Addressing Dementia Care and Wandering Behaviors in HCBS Settings

By | Uncategorized, WEBINAR | No Comments
When: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 10:00 a.m. PT/ 1:00 p.m. ET

States currently are modifying their Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) programs to comply with new federal regulations that prioritize independence and community integration for HCBS beneficiaries. An important, recurring question is how to apply these principles to beneficiaries living with dementia or other conditions that may result in wandering or exit-seeking behaviors.

This webinar, Strategies & Promising Practices for Addressing Dementia Care and Wandering Behaviors in HCBS Settings, presented promising practices in HCBS delivery for settings supporting individuals living with dementia, with a special focus on strategies for addressing wandering or exit-seeking behaviors. The webinar included a discussion of how the federal and state governments are addressing the provision of supports to individuals living with dementia in the process of bringing states into compliance with the 2014 federal HCBS regulations. The material presented will be useful for advocates, service providers, and others with an interest in HCBS and dementia care. Read More

NALC Meets the National Center on Law and Elder Rights

By | BLOG, HOMEPAGE, Uncategorized | No Comments
On October 29, aging advocates closed out another successful annual National Aging and Law Conference (NALC) in Alexandria, Virginia. Unpacking, I sifted through the usual post-conference paper trail tornado: hotel notepads scribbled with ideas, business cards of inspiring advocates, and brochures from innovative legal programs. Reading through these materials, a few words kept popping up-partnership, engagement, coordination, capacity. Read More

WEBINAR: Medicaid Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: An Overlooked Lifeline for Older Adults

By | Medicaid, Uncategorized, WEBINAR | No Comments
When: Thursday, November 3, 2016 11:00 a.m. PT

Non-emergency medical transportation is a critical benefit ensuring that Medicaid beneficiaries have transportation to medical services. This webinar reviewed this increasingly important component of health care for low-income older adults and people with disabilities; explored challenges to accessing the benefit; shared examples of state strategies to overcome those challenges.

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WEBINAR: SSI Basics for Advocates

By | Uncategorized, WEBINAR | No Comments
When: Thursday, October 20 10:00 a.m. PT/ 1:00 p.m. ET 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a critical safety net program administered by the Social Security Administration that provides a very basic income to older adults and people with disabilities with no or only limited other income and resources. This webinar is designed for legal services and other advocates who are just getting started in the field and others who want to learn more about the essentials of the program.

This webinar covered the basic rules surrounding the SSI program, which provides modest financial support to older adults and people with disabilities who lack other resources. We described the program and discussed the basic rules of eligibility, how benefits are calculated, and provided suggestions on where to go if you need further information.

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WEBINAR: What You Need to Know About Medicaid Managed Care Changes

By | Medicaid, Uncategorized, WEBINAR | No Comments
When: Thursday, June 30 at 11:00 a.m. PT/2:00 p.m. ET

Coming to a State Near You: Medicaid Managed Care Changes…You may have heard that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalized the regulations for Medicaid Managed Care. These new rules become effective in stages with the first round of changes taking effect on July 5. Over 70 regulations will become effective on that date, including the regulations governing important issues such as enrollment, disenrollment, requirements for long-term services and supports, enrollee rights, and grievance and appeal systems.

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WEBINAR: Protecting Dual Eligibles from Balance Billing—What Advocates Need to Know

By | Health Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Uncategorized, WEBINAR | No Comments
When: Tuesday, February 23, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. PT; 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET

People dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, including Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs), have special protections against charges for Medicare co-payments and co-insurance. In this national webinar you will hear directly from CMS what is and is not allowed by federal law and learn from advocates what you can do to help your clients.

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Governor’s Budget is a Start But Doesn’t Go Far Enough for Poor Seniors

By | BLOG, HOMEPAGE, Uncategorized | No Comments
In releasing his proposed budget today, Governor Brown recognized that too many seniors and people with disabilities living in our communities are living in poverty. But the proposals he offered provide only limited relief to those Californians struggling to afford rent, food, heat and other necessities. More action and bolder policies will be needed to lift seniors and people with disabilities out of poverty. California is a wealthy state with a strong economy, and a large budget surplus, but its benefits are not equitably distributed.  For low-income seniors struggling on fixed incomes, we can and must do more. Read More