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Home About Us News Latest News Tagged with: Advocacy Update

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Advocacy Update

2/18/2015 9:30am

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.

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Michigan's Lame Duck Session

12/1/2014 10:40am

The Michigan Senate and House of Representatives are planning to finish up their respective legislative sessions before December 18.  This will conclude the 2014 legislative year, and will be the last session before the newly elected legislators take office. In past years this “lame duck” period has been a time in which legislation can come up unexpectedly and be voted on very quickly, so it’s important for advocates to be paying close attention. 

The Advisory Council of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan is watching three issues which would impact seniors – transportation, catastrophic auto insurance, and independent advanced practice nurses.  A transportation solution is currently being negotiated by leaders of both chambers and the Governor, and will hopefully provide adequate and sustainable funding for roads across the state.  Catastrophic care auto insurance is less likely to arise yet this year, but would negatively impact seniors and others if the unlimited lifetime benefit for medical and personal care following an auto accident were taken away.  A senate bill that would create a designation for independent advanced practice nurses is in the House of Representatives, and would potentially impact the way medical care is delivered in Michigan.  This bill could very well come up in the House and be passed very quickly.

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan will publicize an Advocacy Alert in the case that one of these issues requires immediate attention and advocacy.  In the meantime, please click here for this month’s Advocacy Update for more details on these legislative issues, watch for news from the lame duck sessions

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Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
3215 Eaglecrest Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Phone: 616-456-5664 or 888-456-5664 • Fax: 616-456-5692

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