Older adults who rely on Medicaid, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act can’t afford to lose critical health care, long-term services and supports that help them meet their daily needs, and consumer protections. Justice in Aging is working to push back against legislative and regulatory changes that would hurt seniors, and to keep the aging and disability network informed of the latest proposals and how any changes would impact the millions of older adults already living in or near poverty.

Supporting Older Americans’ Basic Needs: Health Care, Income, Housing and Food

Older adults and their families strive each day to pay for health care and medicine, keep food on the table, have a roof over their heads, and have enough cash on hand to pay the utilities, get where they need to go and meet other basic needs. As families work together to meet these challenges, they are supported by a broad range of federal programs that provide Americans with the means to thrive as they grow older and remain at home and in their communities. This issue brief discusses how these various programs work, who is eligible for them, and how they support the health and economic well-being of older Americans. A shorter fact sheet is also available.

Medicaid Work Requirements & Family Caregivers

Medicaid is an important source of health insurance coverage for many of the 40 million family caregivers in the United States who do not have access to other affordable coverage options. However, many states are in the process of designing or implementing policies that require family caregivers and others who are eligible for Medicaid to work a certain number of hours per month or qualify for an exemption to maintain their health coverage. Low-income family caregivers may be unable to work sufficient hours at a paid job because of their caregiving responsibilities and may not qualify for the state’s exemptions. As a result, many will lose access to health care they need to maintain their own health, harming both their own well-being and the well-being of the older adults they care for.

Learn more.

Medicaid Retroactive Coverage

Retroactive Medicaid coverage is a key financial protection that helps older adults and others who develop sudden illnesses or long term care needs access the care they need right away. It is a smart policy intended to protect low-income people from crushing medical debt in instances where they need emergency medical or long-term care and cannot apply for Medicaid immediately. But several states are eliminating this protection through Medicaid demonstration waivers approved by the federal government.

Issue Brief: What’s at Stake for Older Adults When States Eliminate Retroactive Medicaid Coverage?

Fact Sheet: What’s at Stake for Older Adults When States Eliminate Retroactive Medicaid Coverage?

Webinar: What’s at Stake for Older Adults When States Eliminate Retroactive Medicaid Coverage?

Ensuring Equal Access to Medicaid for California Seniors

When Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, was expanded as part of the Affordable Care Act to include adults under the age of 65, the income someone would need to qualify was set at a higher rate for people under 65 than it had been for older adults. This means older adults in California currently have to be significantly poorer than people under 65 in order to qualify for Medicaid. We worked with advocate partners and members of the legislature to create an equitable fix and co-sponsored the bill that would create parity, AB 2430. The bill has broad support from lawmakers and, if passed, will help about 20,000 seniors and adults with disabilities get health care through Medicaid.

Fact Sheet: Seniors Deserve Equal Access to Medi-Cal

Medicaid Funding Caps Would Harm Older Americans

Recent months have seen increased discussion of proposals to remake Medicaid and cap federal Medicaid payments to states. Proposals to cap Medicaid funding to states, either through block grants or per capita caps, place health care for low-income older Americans at risk. Older Americans would be harmed by lost eligibility and services, unaffordable financial obligations, and a lessened quality of care.

Most Recent Resources-Created in response to Senate Health Care Bill released on June 22:

Justice in Aging Statement on the CBO Score of the Senate Health Care Bill
Issue Brief: Health Care on the Chopping Block: How Older Americans Will Suffer Under Senate Republican’s Proposal to Cap Medicaid Funding
Issue Brief: Proposed Cuts to Medicaid Put Medicare Savings Programs At Risk
Fact Sheet: Medicaid Funding Caps Will Harm Older Americans
Blog: The Republican Health Care Bill is Bad for Your Grandparents. And Your Parents. And You
Social Media Toolkit with State-Specific Stats
Huffington Post Blog: Message From Congress: Don’t Get Old

Resources Created in Response to Earlier Proposals

Issue Brief: Medicaid Funding Caps Would Harm Older Americans
                      Executive Summary

Fact Sheet: Medicaid Funding Caps & Cuts Harm Older Women
Fact Sheet: Medicaid Funding Caps Would Harm Older Americans
Fact Sheet: Medicaid Funding Caps Would Harm Older Adults in California

Repealing the ACA Hurts Seniors

Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more older adults can remain in their homes, save money on prescription drugs, and get health insurance coverage. As Congress debates repealing it, the entire health care system upon which older adults rely is at risk. Two new Justice in Aging fact sheets illustrate just some of the dangers for older adults if the ACA is fully repealed.

Fact Sheet: How the ACA is Helping Older Adults During COVID-19

Issue Brief: 10 Year Check-up: The Affordable Care Act Has Enhanced Access to Quality Health Care for Older Adults

Fact Sheet: Repealing the ACA Hurts Seniors

Fact Sheet: Repealing the ACA Threatens California Seniors

State-Specific Fact Sheets on Impact of BCRA on Older Adults

How BCRA Harms Older Adults – State-Specific Fact Sheets

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

Issue Brief: Health Savings Accounts Won’t Help Most Older Adults 


Justice in Aging’s Statement for the Record on the Monday, September 25, 2017 Hearing to Consider the Graham-Cassidy Heller-Johnson Amendment

General Justice in Aging Statement on Graham-Cassidy

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

Social Media Toolkit

State-Specific Fact Sheets:

New York
West Virginia

American Health Care Act

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the GOP’s replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act.  If allowed to move forward, this bill would be an all-out assault on the health and long-term care needs of older adults. It would slash Medicaid and cause older adults 55-64 to pay much more for insurance—all to cut taxes on the wealthy and pharmaceutical companies.

Justice in Aging’s statement on Senate health care bill

Statement: CBO Analysis Reaffirms AHCA is a Disaster for Older Adults

Statement: House Vote on AHCA is an Attack on Low-Income Seniors

Blog: Four Ways the AHCA is an Attack on Older Adults

Justice in Aging’s statement on House vote for AHCA

Fact Sheet: The Dangers of AHCA for Older Adults

Justice in Aging’s statement on AHCA defeat.

Letter to Senate Leadership: Provisions of the AHCA would Undermine Medicare and Threaten Dual Eligibles

Sign-on Letter to Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi: The AHCA’s Impact on Medicare’s Finances and and Dual Eligibles