A number of issues related to seniors will require advocacy in 2015. On the state level both road funding and funding for in-home services and the MI Choice Medicaid Waiver will be a top priority for advocates. On the national level the Older Americans Act, Medicare Part B Physicians Reimbursement, and sequestration will be key issues to discuss with legislators. All five topics are outlined below or you can also download a printable copy of the February 2015 Advocacy Alert, please click here
Senior Issues in Michigan
Road Funding: Transportation, including the state of the roads, is a huge issue for seniors. Sustainable funding is necessary to fix this problem for seniors and everyone in the community. The legislature passed a package of bills and will require a public vote in May to secure the road fix.
Funding for In-Home Services and MI Choice Medicaid Waiver: The legislature will be asked to allocate an increase in the MI Choice Medicaid \Waiver budget and that of the Office of Services to the Aging for FY 2016, due to the rapidly increasing number of seniors in Michigan and the importance of helping them stay in their homes.
Senior Issues in the U.S.
Older Americans Act: The Older Americans Act funds critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent. The Act is overdue for reauthorization. S. 192, currently on the Senate floor, would reauthorize the Act for three years. It has bipartisan support and will hopefully be passed quickly in the Senate and then in the house.
Medicare Part B Physician Reimbursement: Medicare will undergo a cut in physician reimbursement due to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) policy, unless congress repeals the SGR permanently. In 2014 a one year fix was passed, stalling a permanent solution. The SGR will take effect in April 2015 unless Congress passes a legislative solution before then.
Sequestration: The threat of sequestration, or across-the-board budget cuts, is back for FY 2016 and would cause a 7% reduction in all non-defense spending including services for older adults, unless Congress passes a budget that meets the relevant spending caps. Such an indiscriminate funding cut would affect programs for seniors by slashing budgets in every category, even those services that seniors rely on for their health and well-being.