Category

Affordable Care Act

Justice in Aging’s Statement on Trump Administration’s Proposed Roll-back of Health Care Rights

By | Affordable Care Act, Health Care, LGBT, Safety Net Defense

Today as part of an ongoing attack on the most marginalized, the Trump Administration is proposing dangerous and far reaching changes to regulations implementing the Health Care Rights Law, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination in healthcare. The proposal attempts to eliminate the rights of LGBTQ people. It also rolls back protections for limited English proficient (LEP) older adults, and attempts to radically limit the way that victims of any type of discrimination can seek redress under the law. By gutting the only federal law designed to protect against discrimination in health care, the move is a cruel, extremist, and transparent political attack on LGBTQ older adults, LEP seniors, and others who frequently face discrimination in accessing care.

The ACA’s Health Care Rights provision is a landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in federal health programs and activities. The law includes affirmative protections for consumers and obligations on insurers and providers, as well as a new avenue for older adults and others to enforce their rights.

The proposed changes to the Health Care Rights Law will be particularly harmful for transgender older adults – one in five of whom report being refused care because of their gender status. This discrimination, which compounds over a lifetime, contributes to poorer health outcomes among transgender older adults, with one in three reporting poor physical health. By deleting references to protections based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and sex stereotyping across federal healthcare regulations, the Trump Administration’s proposal is saying transgender older adults and LGBTQ people more broadly do not have the right to receive the care they need and be treated with dignity.

In the same proposed rulemaking, the Trump Administration is also rolling back language access protections for LEP older adults by eliminating the requirement that healthcare providers affirmatively distribute notices of non-discrimination and include translated taglines in significant communications to consumers. These requirements, key to enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, are critical to assist LEP communities to better understand their rights and access care.

Finally, if gutting key provisions of the existing regulations were not enough, the proposed rulemaking takes aim at the Health Care Rights Law’s enforcement structure, which would make it significantly more difficult to bring particular discrimination claims under the law.

To be clear, this proposed rule is part of a larger, strategic attack on the lives of LGBTQ and LEP older adults. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the same agency tasked with enforcing Section 1557, recently released a final “Conscience Rights” rule that allows providers to discriminate against transgender older adults and others on religious and moral grounds and changed the OCR mission statement to emphasize conscience and religious freedom. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed “public charge” rule would make it nearly impossible for LEP older immigrants to enter the U.S. or become permanent residents if they are not wealthy and use or might need Medicaid or help paying for Medicare, food or housing.

Upon the proposed rule being published in the Federal Register, a 60-day public comment period will begin. In the coming weeks, Justice in Aging will provide resources, including template comments, to help advocates fight back. Now is the time to tell the Trump Administration that the lives, rights, and dignity of LGBTQ older adults, LEP seniors, and people with disabilities matter and to protect the Health Care Rights Law.

Talking Taxes Over Turkey

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, Economic Security, Health Care, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Safety Net Defense
This week marks an important milestone for my wife and me – our first time hosting Thanksgiving. We’ll be bringing together three generations of family: our parents and some of their siblings, our siblings, and a growing crew of little ones. There will be good food, lots of laughs and, if my nephews can convince my daughters, some family football. Read More

Justice in Aging’s Statement on the House Passage of the Tax Bill

By | Affordable Care Act, Health Care, Health Care Defense, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Statements, Supplemental Security Income

Today, the House of Representatives passed a tax bill that is a full-fledged attack on the health and well-being of older Americans and their families.

As we’ve discussed, this is all part of the House Republican leadership’s two-step process. Step one is to cut taxes for the wealthy and drive up the deficit by $1.5 trillion. Step two is to use the higher deficit to justify additional future cuts to programs we all depend on, such as Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Older American Act programs, and many others.

The inevitable program cuts that Republican leadership will push for, after they balloon the deficit, will cause lasting harm to seniors today and in the future. Further, the House bill passed today eliminates the medical expense tax deduction that provides tax relief to millions of older adults with high out-of-pocket and long-term care costs and modest incomes.

This bill overwhelmingly benefits the wealthiest Americans and big corporations at the expense of everyone else. We urge the Senate to stop this reckless process and reject any bill that drives up the deficit and takes away health care from older Americans and their families.

What Advocates for Older Adults Need to Know About the Budget Resolution

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, Economic Security, Safety Net Defense
If you work with older adults (or have older adults in your life), you have a sense of what we all need as we age. The burden of high health care and housing costs on low-income seniors is growing, and fewer seniors can meet these basic needs: hot meals and enough food to eat, a stable home in the community, and quality health care. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans passed a budget resolution that would make this vision of aging more and more rare. The budget resolution would allow Congress to significantly cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans by cutting funding for critical programs needed by all other Americans. Here’s what advocates for older adults need to know. Read More

Fact Sheet: Open Enrollment for 2018 through Medicare & the Marketplace

By | Affordable Care Act, FACT SHEET, Health Care, Medicare, REPORTS

Here’s what older adults need to know about this year’s Open Enrollment periods for both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplaces.

Open Enrollment

Fall is open enrollment time for both Medicare beneficiaries and enrollees in the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplaces for coverage in 2018.

Justice in Aging’s open enrollment fact sheet reveals who is impacted by fall open enrollment, covers critical dates for each group, and provides key information on actions to take to ensure continuous coverage.

Key Facts:

  • Part C and Part D enrollees should review their coverage options each year as Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans can change their cost-sharing, provider networks and drug formularies.
  • Medicare’s open enrollment period is from October 15-December 7, 2017.
  • The Marketplace enrollment period has been cut in half from 12 weeks to 6 weeks.
  • The Marketplace enrollment period is from November 1-December 15, 2017.
  • Open enrollment periods have been extended for victims of some natural disasters.

Read the Fact Sheet

Graham-Cassidy ACA Repeal & Replace Proposal: New Name, Same Attacks on Older Adults

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, Health Care, Health Care Defense, Medicaid, Uncategorized
Senators Graham and Cassidy recently released the lone remaining proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Graham-Cassidy plan once again takes direct aim at Medicaid to pay for tax cuts and provisions that primarily benefit the wealthy and makes even more harmful changes to the ACA than the bills the Senate voted on in July. Any of its provisions alone or in combination would be devastating for older adults, people with disabilities and anyone with limited income and are counter to the current bipartisan efforts to improve the ACA. Read More

Health Savings Accounts Won’t Help Most Older Adults

By | Affordable Care Act, Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, REPORTS

Proposals to expand the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have been raised repeatedly in the health care debate. This new issue brief looks at how expanding HSAs would impact the affordability of health care coverage for low and moderate income older adults by examining how HSAs would have functioned under one proposal, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), had it become law.

The paper finds that the combination of HSA contributions and premium costs can easily reach 20% to 30% of an older adult’s income. It concludes that HSAs are not a path to affordable health care for older adults. Read the brief.

Older Adults & the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace: What’s at Stake for 2018

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, Health Care, Health Care Defense
Among its many achievements, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made great strides in covering more older adults who previously had no access to health care. Before the ACA, many low-income older adults who did not have employer-based coverage had no affordable coverage options to address their growing health care needs prior to becoming eligible for Medicare. Insurance companies were allowed to effectively price lower-income older adults out of the individual market or deny them coverage altogether based on pre-existing conditions. These insurance practices posed significant barriers for the 84 percent of people ages 55 to 64 estimated to have at least one pre-existing condition. Read More

Senate ACA-Repeal Knocks Down House, Builds Shack

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, Health Care, Health Care Defense, Home & Community Based Services, HOMEPAGE
Over 90% of older adults say that they want to remain in their homes as they age, rather than going into a nursing home. A successful and popular program, Community First Choice (CFC), lets people do just that.

The revised Senate health care bill brings an idea that should be a hard sell for the over 3 million older adults and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for in-home care. On top of a massive almost $800 billion cut to Medicaid that guarantees shrunken programs and eliminated services, the Senate bill kills CFC and replaces it with an inferior version that provides fewer services for a limited time only.

Read More

The Republican Health Care Bill is Bad News for Your Grandparents. And Your Parents. And You.

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, Health Care Defense, Medicaid, Medicare, Nursing Homes
Who needs Medicaid? Probably someone you know. Medicaid is the backstop government program that provides coverage when someone can’t afford necessary health care. Historically, Medicaid coverage focused on children, older adults, and persons with disabilities, although 2010’s Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid coverage to some low-income adults without disabilities. The Better Care Reconciliation Act, which Senate Republicans just released, not only aims to take away the expanded coverage, but also makes deep cuts to the core Medicaid program that inevitably will lead to health care rationing. Read More