This is advocacy

Report
Washington Update:
Public Policy and
Advocacy
Meredith Ponder
Senior Associate
Matz, Blancato and Associates
June 2, 2014
Introduction

Second session of the 113th Congress halfway done

Sixth year of the Obama presidency

Where do things stand?

With the president: not so much power

Key people are leaving Administration

Headed into lame-duck period

November election and possible changes
Congressional Overview

Started with strong bipartisan activity

Omnibus FY 2014 Appropriations bill, Farm Bill, increase in
debt ceiling SGR patch

Only “must do” left: FY 2015 appropriations

Could do:


Permanent fix to SGR

Tax extenders

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act monitor for
possible implications for I and R
Might or might not do:

Immigration reform

Older Americans Act

Tweaks to Affordable Care Act
Congressional Overview
(cont.)

More not on table than on table

Not on table:

Social Security (chained CPI gone)

Medicare reform (other than SGR)

Medicaid reforms (other than Medicaid expansion in
states)

Long term care
Older Americans Act

D.C. still stalled on the OAA reauthorization

3 key bills in play

Farthest along is the Sanders bill (S. 1562)

Awaiting consideration on Senate floor

Stalled by formula changes

Has to be resolved
S.1562 – OAA Amendments of
2013

Strengthens and reauthorizes core programs of the OAA

Updates definitions of “greatest economic and social
need”

Addresses economic security

Authorizes new demonstration projects

Increases focus on elder abuse
OAA (cont.)

Related to this bill is H.R. 4122 (Bonamici)

Bonamici bill is a modest but progressive
reauthorization which expands on the Sanders bill

Pending; no action scheduled

3rd bill is H.R. 3850 (Gibson, NY) a bipartisan straight
reauthorization for five years starting in FY14

No action yet on this either

The existing provisions related to I&R in the current law
are maintained in all three bills. Ongoing work to get
the AIRS standards recognized in law
Prospects for the OAA?

Appear not good as of today

No one wants to make next move

Everyone is passive

Buzz has to be generated from grassroots

AARP did lobby day with more than 250 visits and had
OAA on agenda
Affordable Care Act

Now in its 5th year

Controversial from the start. Will continue to be a
defining issue in November

Future of big ticket items such as individual mandate
remain unclear

Medicaid expansion key state by state issue

AIRS is a “Champion for Change” of the ACA

Some AIRS interests include navigators program, care
transitions and Part D issues

Navigators program: a lot of bang for a little benefit?

Millions spent on the program, but unclear how much it
has helped consumers enroll

Still will be a window of opportunity for I&R network
Affordable Care Act

Care transitions (lowering hospital readmissions)

Aging network heavily involved

Renewal of grants under way but programs have had issues
meeting metrics

A strong feature of the ACA for seniors is lowering of
prescription drug costs in Medicare Part D

Gradual closing of donut hole

Already achieved savings averaging $1300 per senior

Add to that new emphasis on preventive benefits

Will help to bend cost curve for health care

New and emerging issue relates to problems enrolling new
Medicaid people and need for information
Long Term Care

Another health issue to consider when discussing ACA

America’s denial issue continues

Effort in Affordable Care Act (CLASS Act) failed

New ideas are developing

Switch emphasis from long term care to long term
services and supports

Greater emphasis on home and community based care

Must address financing (public/private)
Elder Justice

Elder abuse is a growing problem

Estimated that 1 in 10 seniors are victims of abuse, neglect
and/or exploitation

Federal response is not adequate to say the least

$25 million Elder Justice Initiative proposed in the
President’s budget

$13.8 million to enhance APS, including databases and program
standards

$11.2 million for research, including screening tools and
foundational research

Important first step

Information is the business of what you do, and elder abuse
prevention is about people being aware of the problem

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15
White House Conference on
Aging

We continue to monitor possible 2015 White House
Conference on Aging

Included in President’s budget is $3 million for WHCOA

Very appropriate to do in 2015: 50th anniversaries of
Medicare, Medicaid and OAA

Look for opportunities for AIRS to get involved
The Five B’s of Advocacy

Remember the 5 B’s of advocacy

Be Prepared

Be Persistent

Be Persuasive

Be Personable but most of all

Be Engaged!
Action at Home

What can you do as a community? Key component of
advocacy

Forums

Phone/email campaigns

Visit local offices

Neighborhood/community awareness

Letters to the editor

Tweeting
Advocacy vs. Lobbying

This is advocacy:

Telling your member of Congress how a federal grant
your organization received has helped your constituents

Educating a member of Congress about the effects of a
policy on your constituency

Inviting a member of Congress to visit your organization
so that he/she may see firsthand how federal funding or
a policy affects day-to-day operations and the
difference it makes
http://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/policy-news/are-nonprofits-allowed-to.html
Conclusions

We are coming up on what will likely be a brutal
midterm election

Advocacy before the distraction of the midterms is more
crucial than ever, especially on issues like the OAA

Take action at home and if you visit DC to take action
there, let us know you’re in town!

[email protected]

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