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PRESS RELEASE

Justice in Aging Joins Amicus Brief Urging the Supreme Court to Defend the ACA

By | Health Care, Medicaid, Medicare, PRESS RELEASE

On January 15, Justice in Aging joined AARP and the Center for Medicare Advocacy in submitting an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to expedite its review of a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The brief argues that the uncertainty caused by the Fifth Circuit’s decision to remand the case to the district court is harming older adults and that declaring the entire ACA unconstitutional will cause millions of older adults to lose health insurance coverage and vital consumer protections.

Several states led by Texas, along with the U.S. Department of Justice, are asking the courts to declare the entire ACA unconstitutional because Congress zeroed out the tax penalty for not complying with the law’s individual mandate to have health insurance. A federal district judge agreed and issued a ruling that the entire ACA is unconstitutional in December 2018. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit decided that the individual mandate without a penalty is unconstitutional, but remanded the decision back to the district court to review the ACA provision-by-provision to determine whether each is viable without the mandate.

Our amicus brief, filed in support of the states and the U.S. House of Representatives who are defending the ACA, demonstrates how the ACA’s critical protections and coverage expansions have improved the health and well-being of older adults, and how invalidating the ACA would disrupt the entire health care system, undermine the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and harm low-income seniors and their families. As explained in our statement on the Fifth Circuit’s decision and in our issue brief on the importance of the ACA to low-income older adults, millions of older adults and people with disabilities are alive and healthier today because the ACA enabled access to health care they couldn’t otherwise obtain.

Because of the ACA:

  • The lives of over 19,200 older adults on expanded Medicaid have been saved.
  • Seniors and people with disabilities have more opportunities to age in place and live at home, in their communities, where they want to be.
  • There is more care coordination for individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid and better protections for the lowest-income seniors from illegal billing for Medicare cost-sharing.
  • Seniors have stronger protections from discrimination and a new avenue for enforcing their civil rights.
  • Medicare beneficiaries have better access to preventive services and prescription drug coverage.

If the Supreme Court is persuaded by our arguments and upholds the constitutionality of the ACA, 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and 13 million Americans enrolled in expanded Medicaid will be able to move on with their lives without fear of losing coverage. And we can continue to build on the progress we have made using the ACA’s tools to enhance care coordination and consumer protections for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, end discrimination, and eliminate health disparities, and achieve Justice in Aging for all.

Executive Director Kevin Prindiville’s Statement on ACA Ruling

By | PRESS RELEASE

Below is a statement from Justice in Aging’s Executive Director Kevin Prindiville on yesterday’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Yesterday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and remanded the case to the District court to clarify whether the rest of the ACA can stand without the mandate. For now, the ACA remains in place without the mandate, but, if the law is invalidated, the health of millions of older Americans and their families is at risk.

The ACA is a lifeline for older adults and people with disabilities. If the ACA is ultimately found unconstitutional, 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and the 20 million people who gained coverage through Medicaid expansion would face higher health care costs or lose access to coverage entirely. Populations of color who saw the greatest coverage gains under the ACA would be particularly harmed.

District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, who previously ruled that the entire ACA should be struck down, is unlikely to make a different decision a second time. Rather, today’s decision only serves as a delay, causing uncertainty, fear, and disruption in the current health insurance market and in the lives of older adults, their families, and all Americans.

Justice in Aging Files Amicus Brief Arguing that the Department of Homeland Security’s Final Public Charge Rule Illegally Targets Older Adults and Their Families

By | PRESS RELEASE
Oakland, Ca—Last week, Justice in Aging and partner organizations filed an amicus brief in six separate lawsuits in three United States District Courts challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s recently finalized “public charge” rule arguing that it unlawfully targets older immigrants and their families. The rule essentially bars low-income older adults from entering the country or obtaining lawful permanent residency status (greencard). Read More

Beneficiary Advocates Raise Alarms Concerning Roll-Out of New Medicare Plan Finder and Revision of Medicare Marketing Rules

By | News Releases, Newsroom, PRESS RELEASE
Washington, DC ─ Justice in Aging, Medicare Rights Center, Center for Medicare Advocacy, and the National Council on Aging sent a joint letter to Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), on August 27, 2019, urging the agency to address concerns regarding changes to the Medicare Plan Finder (MPF) tool and the 2020 Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidance (MCMG).

The four organizations expressed appreciation for CMS’s efforts to update these resources to better support beneficiary decision-making, while raising concerns that the revisions may instead have the opposite effect. The groups urged CMS to mitigate adverse consequences by closely monitoring the roll out and functionality of the new MPF tool, providing enrollment relief as needed, and by rescinding the updated MCMG in its entirety. Read More

Court Denies All Government Motions in Class Action Seeking Appeal Right for Medicare Beneficiaries on “Observation Status”

By | News Releases, Newsroom, PRESS RELEASE
In a decision issued on March 27, 2019, a federal judge denied multiple attempts by the federal government to halt a lawsuit by Medicare patients seeking a right to appeal their placement on “outpatient observation status” in hospitals. Alexander v. Azar is a nationwide class action brought by individuals who were forced to pay up to $30,000 for post-hospital skilled nursing facility care because they had been classified as outpatients in observation status, rather than as inpatients. Read More

AARP’s Asian American Pacific Islander Community Honors Denny Chan with its 2018 Hero Award

By | Health Care Defense, PRESS RELEASE, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY
Oakland, CA (August 20, 2018) –Justice in Aging is proud to announce that the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community of AARP has honored Justice in Aging attorney Denny Chan with its annual Hero Award.

Every year, for the past three years, the AARP AAPI Hero Awards have recognized volunteers and non-profit organization staff members who work tirelessly behind the scenes serving Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders over 50 years of age. The award was announced on Facebook on August 16. You can watch the winning video about Denny’s good work on behalf of low-income older adults. Read More

Press Release: White Paper Stresses Importance of Oral Health Care Benefit for Older Adults

By | Health Care, Medicare, Oral Health, PRESS RELEASE

Washington, DC 2018 – Justice in Aging, along with a diverse group of partners, released a white paper, An Oral Health Benefit in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care. This white paper is an interprofessional, collaborative effort written and published by leaders in the consumer, healthcare and dental fields, including the American Dental Association, Center for Medicare Advocacy, the Dentaquest Foundation, Families USA, Justice in Aging, Oral Health America and the Santa Fe Group.

With an expected 72.1 million seniors living in the United States by 2030, An Oral Health Benefit in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care, outlines the need for oral health care coverage for Medicare recipients and the importance of it being integrated with, and elevated to, the same importance as the rest of health care in Medicare. Read More

Nursing Home Residents at Risk as CMS Prioritizes Industry Lobbyists Over Residents

By | PRESS RELEASE

June 15, 2018 –Released in conjunction with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, new reports from advocates for nursing home residents show how residents’ health and safety has become increasingly imperiled under the current leadership of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Although a recent federal study found that a third of short-term residents suffered harm, CMS has, since January 2017, began to eliminate, delay, and dramatically reduce enforcement of key regulations that protect residents—and all such actions can be linked to requests by industry lobbyists.

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LA Aging Advocacy Coalition Honors Kevin Prindiville with the LAAAC Champion Award

By | PRESS RELEASE

Los Angeles, CA (May 31, 2018) –Justice in Aging is proud to announce that the Los Angeles Aging and Advocacy Coalition (LAAAC) is honoring Kevin Prindiville with its Champion Award. Every year, LAAAC honors an individual who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to aging advocacy, made outstanding contributions to the health and well-being of older and adults and caregivers in Los Angeles County, and demonstrated effectiveness as an advocate for seniors and their caregivers. The award will be presented Friday, June 1 at the 9th Annual Summit on Aging at the University of Southern California Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom.

“I’m honored to be receiving this award at this critical time when we all need to be speaking up for and working on behalf of the growing number of seniors in California that are living in or near poverty,” said Kevin Prindiville.

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Beneficiary Advocates Urge Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to Correct Inaccuracies in Medicare & You Handbook for 2019

By | PRESS RELEASE, Uncategorized
Washington, DC – The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging and the Medicare Rights Center sent a joint letter to Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), on May 15, 2018, objecting to serious inaccuracies in the draft Medicare & You Handbook for 2019, and urging CMS to rectify the errors prior to disseminating the Medicare & You Handbook.

Medicare & You is the official government publication designed to provide beneficiaries with factual information about the Medicare program, their choices for obtaining coverage, and the benefits they can expect. Unfortunately, the draft 2019 Handbook includes inaccurate descriptions of the differences between Original Medicare and private Medicare Advantage plans. Without fair and accurate information, older adults, people with disabilities and their families cannot make informed choices about their health care coverage. Read More