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.
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.
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
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.
State-Specific Fact Sheets on Impact of BCRA on Older Adults
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
State-Specific Fact Sheets:
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.
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
Tax and Budget Proposals
Justice in Aging’s Statement on the 2019 Budget Proposal
Justice in Aging’s Statement On Passage of Tax Bill (December 20, 2017)
Fact Sheet: Republican Tax Bills Will Hurt Older Adults
Fact Sheet: Congress Tax Proposals Endanger Health Care for Older Adults
Fact Sheet: 4 Ways the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act Threatens Health Care for Older Adults
Letter to the Senate Opposing Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (December 15, 2017)
Letter to the House Opposing Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (December 15, 2017)
Letter to the Senate Opposing Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (November 28, 2017)
Justice in Aging’s Statement on the House Passage of the Tax Bill (November 16, 2017)
Justice in Aging’s Statement on the House Tax Plan (November 2, 2017)