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It’s Time for Some Straight Talk

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010, NCOA launched a campaign called Straight Talk for Seniors®. Our goal was simple—cut through the confusion and bias and give older adults the facts about what the new law meant for them.

Today, we’re bringing Straight Talk back.

Our goal is the same—provide factual information to older adults and the professionals who serve them on key policy concerns. But this time the topic has expanded.

Regardless of how you voted on Nov. 8, there are serious policy debates on the horizon that will affect older Americans and their families—today and tomorrow.

Affordable Care Act

The first topic is the Affordable Care Act. The new Administration and Republican leaders in Congress have made it clear that they hope to repeal significant portions of the act within the first month.

While it currently appears that the ACA’s Medicare wellness visit, preventive screenings, and prescription drug “donut hole” coverage provisions likely will not be included in the repeal, we believe there are several other provisions important to older Americans that likely will be included, such as:

The PPHF and CFC both were included in the ACA repeal bill that passed the House and Senate last year. NCOA is urging Congress not to repeal these provisions. We’re also urging lawmakers to work with consumer advocates to craft a detailed replacement plan alongside any legislation to repeal parts of the ACA.

Medicare, Medicaid, and the OAA

The ACA is one of the first debates, but others are expected to follow.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, are strong proponents of fundamentally changing how Medicare and Medicaid are structured, as well as dramatically cutting Medicaid spending (an estimated $913 billion in cuts over 10 years). Given shifting priorities for increased defense spending, funding for Older Americans Act (OAA) programs also could face significant cuts when Congress finally wraps up FY17 funding and tackles the FY18 budget next year.

These programs are not just benefits for older adults. They are fundamental supports for all Americans who are aging now—and for all of us who are fortunate enough to age in the future. These programs support all American families.

I encourage you to follow our Straight Talk for Seniors® blog posts as the policy debate unfolds. Sign up for our free advocacy alerts to receive each new post in your inbox.

Our promise is simple: We will give you the latest facts on what’s at stake, what proposals are being considered, and—most importantly—what actions you can take to help defend and strengthen these vital programs for all Americans.

Are Medicare, Medicaid, the OAA, and ACA important to you and your family? Please tell us why in the comments section below.

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About Howard Bedlin

Howard Bedlin is NCOA's Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy. He is responsible for all of NCOA’s federal and state legislative advocacy efforts on issues and programs of concern to older adults, which include the Older Americans Act, Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care, income security, and community services programs.