Lawmakers Push for Aging Program Funding Amid Floundering Negotiations
Bipartisan and bicameral calls for additional funding for OAA and other critical aging programs have emerged amidst an ongoing—though unsuccessful—negotiation over the size and scope of another coronavirus relief legislation.
This week, Senate Aging Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) co-led an effort with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and 14 of their Senate colleagues urging leadership to include at least another $1.1 billion for OAA programs in the next virus response package. n4a is currently working with Hill champions to emulate these efforts in the House.
Additionally, Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and Representative David Trone (D-MD) unveiled a bill, The Strengthening Social Connections Act of 2020, S. 4477/H.R. 8026, which would provide emergency supplemental funding to programs that strengthen social connectedness and address the negative health effects of social isolation in the OAA. Specifically, this bill would authorize $80 million for OAA Title III B to focus on Aging Network activities, including the purchase of technology, to prevent and mitigate the negative health effects of social isolation. n4a has served a leading role in advancing this legislative effort and is strongly endorsing this bill.
Also, recently, a majority of Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus signed on to a letter to Senate leadership to ensure the next package invests in critical federal health care programs, including increasing the federal matching percentage for state Medicaid programs (aka FMAP) and providing additional support for Medicaid HCBS waiver programs providing in-home LTSS to older Americans and people with disabilities.
Negotiations on a next round of virus relief legislation are mired in debates about the overall cost of the proposal and how many issues to tackle, but they are ongoing. Meanwhile, lawmakers continue compiling policy priorities for a final package and lobbying each other, so your advocacy on these issues remains critical! Please continue to use n4a's advocacy tools to push for our shared priorities for the next relief package!