All posts by Les Morgan

Senior Consultant, Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness. Founder, Growth House, Inc.

Massachusetts House to take up budget fix that could affect seniors

BOSTON — The Massachusetts House will take up Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget reduction bill on Wednesday afternoon.

Baker, a Republican, last week proposed a mix of spending cuts and new revenue to close a mid-year budget gap pegged at $768 million. Most of the new revenues – $179 million – and some of the spending cuts – $103 million – require legislative approval.

Advocates representing seniors and health care workers are worried that proposed changes could lead to reductions in MassHealth benefits.

More: http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/02/massachusetts_house_to_take_up.html

Calif. Asm. David Hadley Says Seniors Hit Hardest by Rising Health Care Costs

The cost of health care will continue to be a major issue in the current California legislative session according to State Assemblymember David Hadley (R-South Bay). According to Hadley, seniors were the first to feel the brunt of rising costs.

“California is among the highest-cost states in the country – high housing costs, high sales taxes, gas taxes, taxes on insurance premiums, cap-and-trade taxes. Part of what we need to do to make California more cost-effective for seniors are policies that will benefit all Californians” – Asm. David Hadley, Assembly District 66

Hadley argues that part of the solution is to find new opportunities where seniors can cut costs. One possibility is to broaden their ability to complete 1031 tax-free real estate exchanges. This enables someone to move into new housing and still benefit from Proposition 13, which helps keep property taxes low for long-time homeowners.

According to the California Healthcare Foundation, California health insurance premiums have increased by 9.8 percent since 2011 — a reality that is catching many seniors on a fixed income by surprise.

Democratic Convention set for Philadelphia

WASHINGTON • Democrats will hold their 2016 national convention in Philadelphia, where the last time they met in the City of Brotherly Love they nominated an underdog named Harry S. Truman for President and wrote a civil rights platform that began the long exodus of Southern Democrats from the party,

Get Family Caregiving Into Your State Party Platform

ANN ARBOR, MI— The Family Caregiving Platform Project has launched a national campaign to get family caregiving issues included in state political party platforms across the United States. The nonpartisan project reaches out to individual volunteers and organizations to raise awareness of caregiving issues.

A new website, CaregiverCorps.org, will coordinate grassroots efforts to educate and motivate state and national policymakers to improve support for family caregivers and the frail elderly Americans for whom they selflessly provide support. CaregiverCorps.org outlines policy platform ideas that individuals and groups can bring to government and community organizations at a local level.

Sixty-five million Americans provide care for someone whom they love who is elderly, ill, or disabled. This number will grow as the nation ages. At the same time, the pool of potential caregivers will shrink, creating a significant care gap.

Victoria Walker, MD, Chief Medical and Quality Officer for the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, said, “State political parties will be meeting and discussing their values and priorities leading up to the 2016 election. We want to encourage family caregiver support issues to be included in these discussions and on as many state party policy platforms as possible. These issues are important to American families of all political philosophies. We believe everyone should be able to contribute policy suggestions to improve the lives of caregivers.”

Anne Montgomery, Senior Policy Analyst at Altarum Institute, has taken the issue of the care gap to both the Senate and the House of Representatives. “Family caregivers are liked on both sides of the aisle, but families can’t do it alone,” she noted. “Neither can federal or state governments. We need a third level of activity: community activism.”

Helping caregivers helps the nation. Greater support from caring community members can help families keep their elders at home, saving millions of dollars in state and federal spending while giving older adults what they want most. With a little more organized help from better-targeted programs, more family caregivers could keep their jobs and contribute to the country’s economic prosperity. Family caregivers who selflessly volunteer their help are “local heroes” in our communities. By joining the Family Caregiving Platform Project, you can help to recognize and validate their contribution.
There are many ways to improve the lives of caregivers. Options for action vary by state and community. There are many kinds of families and community needs. Recognizing diversity is important to all of us.

The Family Caregiver Platform Project is supported by a grant from the Stern Family Foundation to the Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness at Altarum. The project is also made possible through the Health and Aging Policy Fellows program, through the generous support of Atlantic Philanthropies and the John A. Hartford Foundation.

Program Contact:
Elizabeth Blair
(202)-776-5107
elizabeth.blair@altarum.org

The Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness (CECAI) works on policy, economics, public education, community demonstrations, and other fronts related to serious chronic illness and frailty due to advancing age. CECAI is directed by Joanne Lynn, MD. CECAI is sponsored by Altarum Institute, a nonprofit research and consulting organization. For more information, visit www.medicaring.org.

Altarum Institute (www.altarum.org) integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and health care. Altarum employs more than 400 individuals and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI, with additional offices in the Washington, D.C., area; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas.