Omnibus Bill Includes Important, but Insufficient, Investments for Older Adults
While the spending bill includes important provisions that will help Americans save for retirement and prevent falls, critical funding that would enable more older adults to stay independent was left out.
The following is a statement from Ramsey Alwin, President and CEO of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), on the omnibus spending bill that Congress passed today:
“The omnibus includes important provisions that will help Americans save for retirement and prevent falls. Yet, critical funding that would enable more older adults to stay independent was left out.
We look forward to working with the new Congress in 2023 to ensure every American has the resources they need to age with health and financial security.
We are pleased to see that the legislation includes:
A range of provisions to help Americans save for retirement, including reforms that will help lower- and middle-income workers, such as a Saver’s Credit with a government match of up to $1,000, emergency savings incentives, part-time worker improvements, and expanded auto enrollment in retirement plans
An extension of Medicaid home care Money Follows the Person and spousal impoverishment protection programs until 2027, which will enable more older adults and people with disabilities to move out of institutions back into the community and protect spouses from having to spend into poverty to gain coverage
New Medicare coverage for behavioral health services provided by marriage and family therapists and licensed mental health counselors
An increased federal Medicaid match of 76% for Puerto Rico and 83% for all other U.S. territories
Two additional years of telehealth waivers and guaranteed access to telehealth even if a patient has not met a plan’s deductible
We also applaud Congress for making these long-overdue investments:
A $2.5 million increase for the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL) and $1 million increase for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent falls, the leading cause of fatal injuries among older adults
$5 million for the new ACL Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Center to disseminate innovative Older Americans Act services that foster older Americans’ health
$1 million for the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Healthy Aging and Age-Friendly Communities to enable coordination of federal programs that empower older adults to remain independent
A $2.1 million increase for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, which offers unbiased, one-to-one counseling to Medicare beneficiaries
Despite this progress, we are disappointed that the legislation still fails to adequately fund Older Americans Act programs and other aging services to keep pace with inflation and the increased demand for services. We are also disappointed in the lack of bipartisan support for providing home- and community-based services that older adults, their families, and their communities need. In the new year, we will continue to advocate for these important policies."