The Slow Starvation of Senior Services

Congress is slowly starving senior services programs.  In the 2012 budget it passed as it was leaving town last weekend, Congress froze or cut spending for a broad range of government programs aimed at seniors and their caregivers--everything from Meals on Wheels to long-term care ombudsman training to information and referral services.  Most of these cuts were not dramatic and only a handful [...]

By |2011-12-21T17:13:35-05:00December 21st, 2011|Aging, Federal senior services programs|5 Comments

Tough Times for Federal Assistance for Seniors

President Obama's 2012 budget is the latest indication of the growing pressures government-provided aging services will face in coming years.  And as tight as his budget is, spending on assistance for poor and frail seniors is likely to end up much lower than Obama proposed. With congressional Republicans vowing to cut $100 billion from domestic spending over the remaining seven [...]

By |2011-02-16T10:15:01-05:00February 16th, 2011|Aging, Federal senior services programs|2 Comments

The Coming Budget Freeze on Elder Care, and What to Do About It

Prepare yourself for big new cuts in government support for elder care.   In his State of the Union address last evening, President Obama called for a five-year freeze on a narrow slice of the federal budget. Unfortunately, programs subject to the freeze would include many that are critically important to the frail elderly and younger people with disabilities--especially those living in [...]

Death and Politics

For the second time, President Obama has bowed to conservative critics and backtracked on a plan to allow Medicare to pay physicians for end of life consultations with their patients. He should be ashamed. In late November, the government adopted new rules that included discussion of advance directives as one of many services physicians could provide during routine annual physicals for their Medicare patients. [...]

By |2011-01-05T08:01:03-05:00January 5th, 2011|End of life|4 Comments

Obama’s Choice to Run Medicaid and Medicare

Kudos to President Obama for making a "recess appointment" of Don Berwick to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Berwick may be the ideal choice for the job. He is the right candidate at exactly the right time. The new health law makes possible broad reforms in the way we deliver health and long-term care. But it by no [...]

The White House Begins to Market the CLASS Act

Nice to see President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius beginning to talk about the CLASS Act--the voluntary national long-term care insurance program that is included in the new health law. But unfortunately, even at a town hall yesterday at a senior center, CLASS was little more than an afterthought for the Administration. Sebelius discussed the new program only in response [...]

CLASS Act, Medicaid Improvements in Obama Health Bill

The compromise health reform plan proposed today by President Obama includes many of the key long-term care provisions that were included in the earlier House and Senate bills. The CLASS Act--the national long-term care insurance program--along with federal incentives to encourage states to expand their home and community based care programs under Medicaid, and improved care coordination for those receiving both Medicare and Medicaid [...]

By |2010-02-22T10:59:35-05:00February 22nd, 2010|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Obama Will Propose Modest New Spending for Respite Care

A White House task force on meeting the needs of middle-class families today proposed to spend an additional $102 million to assist caregivers of aging relatives. The initiative includes an extra $52.5 million for respite care--a program enacted by Congress in 2006 but never fully funded.  It is very important that the Obama Administration recognizes that caring for our parents is critical to many [...]

By |2010-01-25T15:43:23-05:00January 25th, 2010|family caregivers|1 Comment