IN THE NEWS

Group helps aging LGBT community

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Ventura County Star: Group helps aging LGBT community face challenges (3/9/2018). Older adults in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community face unique challenges as they become more vulnerable and are forced to depend on outside services for care and assistance. That’s the belief of the LGBT Aging Coalition of Ventura County, which was formed in late 2015 to bring together allies and members of the LGBT community. Most recently, the coalition presented a talk by Denny Chan, staff attorney of Justice in Aging, a national nonprofit with an office in Los Angeles. His talk, which took place on a recent Wednesday afternoon at the Pleasant Valley Community Center in Camarillo, covered some of the most pressing legal and long-term care issues facing LGBT older adults, as well as some of the best practices for reaching and serving this population.

This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like

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The Atlantic: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like (2/22/2018). Many seniors are stuck with lives of never-ending work—a fate that could befall millions in the coming decades. The problem is growing as more Baby Boomers reach retirement age—between 8,000 to 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, according to Kevin Prindiville, the executive director of Justice in Aging, a nonprofit that addresses senior poverty. “In the early decades of our work, we were serving communities that had been poor when they were younger,” Prindiville told me. “Increasingly, we’re seeing folks who are becoming poor for the first time in old age.”

What can be done to help today’s seniors and generations to come? There are two approaches, Prindiville says: help people save for old age and make retirement more affordable.

Weak federal oversight endangers health and safety of assisted living residents

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The Hill: Weak federal oversight endangers health and safety of assisted living residents (2/8/2018). This week’s GAO report shines a long-overdue light on Medicaid-funded assisted living. Federal funding of assisted living is large and growing, but to this point the federal government has not adequately ensured the quality of assisted living care. This lack of oversight has had tragic consequences for an unfortunately large number of older Americans. The GAO report was requested by a bipartisan group of senators, and its publication should prompt Congress and CMS to take action.

No Car, No Care? Medicaid Transportation At Risk

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California Healthline: No Car, No Care? Medicaid Transportation At Risk (2/5/2018). In California, Medi-Cal members in managed care get transportation through their health plans, while fee-for-service enrollees can arrange for the service through their counties, said Amber Christ, a Los Angeles-based staff attorney for Justice in Aging, a legal advocacy group. Medi-Cal transportation is a “lifeline” for the low-income seniors she works with, she said. “Most of them cannot afford a car, or if they have a car they can’t afford to keep gas in that car, or they can’t use public transportation,” she said. “Medicaid transportation is the only way they are going to their doctor appointments.” California has not proposed cutting this service, but should the federal government slash Medicaid funding overall, “you could see where states would feel the pressure to make cuts, and this might be one of the first places to do that,” Christ said.

What the new tax bill may mean for older adults

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Healthjournalism.org: What the new tax bill may mean for older adults (12/22/2017) The newly passed Republican tax bill negatively impacts low income older adults. The new law jeopardizes Medicare, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate may lead to higher healthcare premiums for seniors as younger people drop their healthcare coverage. It also adds $1.5 trillion to the national debt, which Justice in Aging’s Jennifer Goldberg says, is “the biggest danger. An increase in the national debt will be the trigger for Congress to start cutting entitlement programs like Medicare. It’s important to understand the threats older adults face, not only now, but for at least the next decade.”

Republican Tax Plan Targets California’s Elderly

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Capital & Main: Republican Tax Plan Targets California’s Elderly (12/14/17). The Senate tax bill reform will negatively impact the elderly population significantly. The bill, passed on December 2, 2017, is a two step process that will cut taxes first, then cut social safety programs dedicated to serving the elderly poor to make up for the massive deficit the bill generates. “Cutting eligibility, cutting benefits — that will lead to more seniors not being able to age at home, but being forced into nursing facilities,” said Amber Christ, a Los Angeles-based staff attorney for Justice in Aging. “It will be a catastrophic scaling back of those programs that will impact generations and generations moving forward,” Christ added, calling the looming cuts “a reversal of all the gains from the War on Poverty.”