Skip to content

Tell Congress to Oppose Any Tax Bill That Would Increase Taxes for Seniors! Take Action Now

 

2016 Archives: Health and Family

AARP correspondence to lawmakers and regulators

The following documents related to health care concerns of people 50-plus are presented in reverse chronological order.

January

L: On Jan. 19, 2016 AARP sent a letter to Representatives Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema thanking them for introducing H.R. 3590, the “Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act.”  H.R. 3590 would return to the pre-2013 threshold of 7.5 percent of income to deduct medical expenses on itemized tax returns. AARP supports this as a step in the right direction to restore needed tax relief for Americans with high out-of-pocket health care costs. (PDF)

February

L: On Feb. 9, 2016 AARP sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in support of efforts to improve consumer access by removing barriers to care provided by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). AARP is pleased that the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) proposed rule to remove such barriers is now before the Office of Management & Budget for final review, and urges approval of the proposed rule so that it can be posted for comment in the Federal Register. (PDF)

March

C: On March 1, 2016 AARP sent a comment letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service commenting on the draft Quality Measure Development Plan (MDP): Supporting the Transition to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models (APMs).  AARP is pleased to submit comments regarding the strategic framework for quality measures development, which is required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), as the agency moves towards implementing MIPS and APMs. (PDF)

L: On March 3, 2016 AARP sent a letter to Rep. Tom Reed and Rep. Linda Sánchez endorsing the Credit for Caring Act.  The Credit for Caring Act would create a new, non-refundable federal tax credit of up to $3,000 for eligible family caregivers to help address the financial challenges of caregiving. (PDF)
 
L: On March 18, 2016 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Kline and Ranking Member Scott of the House Committee on Education and Workforce in strong support of legislation to reauthorize the Older Americans Act.  The bill assures continuation of the law that makes critical home and community-based services available to older Americans. (PDF)

L: On March 28, 2016 AARP sent a letter to Secretary Burwell expressing concern for a provision in the recently released 2017 Advance Notice and Call Letter for the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Prescription Drug programs.  The provision regarding Employee Group Waiver Plans (EGWPs) has the potential to raise premiums and reduce benefits for over three million retirees who are among the remaining Americans who have retiree health benefits. (PDF)

April

L: On April 7, 2016 AARP sent a letter of endorsement for the Credit for Caring Act to Senators Joni Ernst, Kelly Ayotte, Michael Bennet, and Elizabeth Warren.  The Credit for Caring Act would create a new, non-refundable federal tax credit of up to $3,000 for eligible family caregivers to help address the financial challenges of caregiving.  Sen. Ernst (PDF); Sen. Ayotte (PDF); Sen. Bennet (PDF); Sen. Warren (PDF).

L: On April 22, 2016 AARP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expressing disappointment by the recent announcement to delay the release of the Hospital Star Ratings.  AARP commends CMS for developing the Hospital Star Ratings, which will help consumers to make informed choices about their hospital care. AARP supports programs and approaches that will allow consumers, patients, and their family caregivers to become more engaged in managing their health and health care as health care transitions to a
value-based system.  (PDF)

L: On April 13, 2016 AARP sent a letter to the U. S. Department of Agriculture in support of the Elder Simplified Application Program (ESAP) waiver request that was filed by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.  This waiver will take several important steps to enhance elder access to SNAP benefits in Massachusetts and benefit the health and wellness of the senior population. (PDF)
 
L: On April 13, 2016 AARP sent a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee offering written testimony on one aspect of how the tax code impacts health care affordability -- the medical expense deduction. In particular, a recent change for taxpayers under age 65 – and one that is scheduled to impact taxpayers age 65 and over in 2017 – has reduced affordability for those with high health care costs. (PDF)
 
C: On April 5, 2016, AARP sent a letter commenting on this important information collection request regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed Medicare Prior Authorization of Home Health Services Demonstration. CMS proposes a three year demonstration in Florida, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, and Massachusetts in which CMS would perform prior authorization before processing claims for Medicare home health services. While AARP supports CMS’ proposed goals of developing improved methods to identify, investigate, and prosecute fraud to protect and extend the Medicare Trust Fund, AARP is very concerned about the impact of this proposed demonstration on Medicare beneficiaries and their families and urges CMS to reconsider this demonstration. (PDF)

May

L:  In May, 2016 AARP along with 24 other organizations sent a letter to Health and Human Services’ Secretary Sylvia Burwell, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Acting Administration Andy Slavitt expressing support of a proposed rule to test value-driven payment and delivery system models for prescription drugs covered under Medicare Part B.  The group of supportive organizations believe that CMS’ proposal has the potential to improve care quality and value for Medicare beneficiaries and support Medicare providers in delivering the right care at the right time. (PDF)

C:  On May 6, 2016 AARP submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory requirements for hearing aid devices and personal sound amplification products (PSAPs).  AARP supports making PSAPs more widely available and removing the stigma associated with technologically-assisted hearing.  (PDF)

C:  On May 9, 2016 AARP submitted a comment letter to Andrew Slavitt, the Acting Administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services concerning the Medicare Program: Part B Drug Payment Model CMS-1670-P.  AARP generally supports the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) demonstration project that modifies how Medicare pays for certain prescription drugs administered by physicians and other clinicians. The proposed model aligns with ongoing efforts to shift U.S. health care away from a volume-based system to one that reimburses based on health care quality and innovation. (PDF)

C:  On May 13, 2016 AARP submitted comments to Food and Nutrition Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture on the proposed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Promotion rule.  Despite the significant harm food insecurity causes older adults, and the proven track record SNAP has of reducing food insecurity, older adult participation rates in SNAP are the lowest of any age group.  (PDF)

C:  On May 18, 2016 AARP submitted comments to Food and Nutrition Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture on enhancing retailer standards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  AARP supports Food and Nutrition Service’s goals of improving the nutritional quality of foods being purchased through SNAP, especially given the impact food security and proper nutrition has on the well-being of older adults.  (PDF)

June

L
:  On June 9, 2016 AARP issued a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health thanking the Subcommittee for holding the hearing entitled, “Advancing Patient Solutions for Lower Cost and Better Care.” AARP shares the subcommittee’s desire to examine ways in which costs can be lowered and better care provided to all Americans. (PDF)

C:  On June 17, 2016 AARP submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concerning Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems for Acute Care Hospitals and the Long Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System Policy Changes and Fiscal Year 2017 Rates, etc.  AARP’s comments focus on the Medicare inpatient prospective payment system, and are limited to the notification of Medicare beneficiaries receiving observation services.  (PDF)
 
L:  On June 20, 2016 AARP issued a letter of endorsement for the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act that would deter brand name pharmaceutical companies from participating in certain practices that can delay or block the availability of less expensive generic and biosimilar drugs.  (PDF)
 
C:  On June 20, 2016 AARP submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on the Medicare skilled nursing facilities proposed rule for FY 2017.  AARP’s comments focus on the proposed quality measures, and AARP’s recommendations to include additional measures to better assess person-and family-centered care and support family caregivers, and the Skilled Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing (SNF VBP) program.  (PDF)

L:  On June 21, 2016 AARP issued a letter of endorsement to Rep. Buchanan and Rep. Blumenauer for the Seniors Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2016.  The Act would delay for two years a scheduled  increase – from 7.5 percent to 10 percent – of the income threshold after which medical expenses can be deducted on itemized tax returns. (PDF)
 
L:  On June 22, 2016 AARP issued a letter of endorsement to Sen. Portman and Sen. Brown for the Seniors Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2016.  The Act would delay for two years a scheduled  increase – from 7.5 percent to 10 percent – of the income threshold after which medical expenses can be deducted on itemized tax returns. (PDF)
 
C:  On June 27, 2016 AARP submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on the design and implementation of the payment programs for physicians and other eligible clinicians created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) in response to the Notice of Proposed Rule (CMS-5517-P).  (PDF)

July


L: On July 15, 2016 AARP issued a letter of endorsement for the Independence at Home Act of 2016.  The Act that would expand the Independence at Home demonstration project to be a permanent program in Medicare.  AARP has long been a supporter of the Independence at Home (IAH) program.  (PDF)

August


L: On August 25, 2016 AARP was pleased to endorse the BENES Act (H.R. 5772 and S. 3236), which helps people approaching age 65 to punctually and properly enroll in Medicare, thereby preventing delays in coverage and costly penalties.  AARP has long recommended that the Social Security Administration should notify potential Medicare beneficiaries, several months before they reach Medicare eligibility at age 65, about the steps to take if they want to enroll and about the circumstances under which premium penalties may be assessed.  House Letter:  (PDF)
 
C: On August 2, 2016 AARP provided comments on the Draft Guidance on Labeling for Biosimilar Products and the ongoing implementation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCI). AARP strongly supports the creation of a clear, workable biosimilar approval pathway that will provide consumers with access to safe, effective biosimilar products.
AARP has long understood the importance of less expensive generic versions of biologic drugs, known as biosimilars or follow-on biologics. (PDF)

C: On August 30, 2016 AARP provided comments on MassHealth’s Section 1115 Waiver Demonstration and Amendment Request.  AARP is encouraged by the goals that have been set for this demonstration extension request, namely, the adoption of alternative payment methodologies, improvement in the service needs of MassHealth participants and movement towards a more integrated and coordinated system of care. (PDF)
 
C: On August 25, 2016 AARP provided comments on the Medicare home health proposed rule for CY 2017. AARP comments focus on beneficiary access to home health care, the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) Model, proposed quality measures, and our recommendations to include additional measures to better assess person-and family-centered care and support family caregivers. (PDF)

October

L: On October 26, 2016, AARP along with the AFL-CIO, OXFAM America, Consumers Union, and Doctors Without Borders sent a letter to President Obama concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  The letter collectively expressed concern about recent reports that the Administration is working behind the scenes to craft TPP implementing legislation and possibly enter into side letters that would mean even more lengthy monopoly protections for biologics than the already onerous provisions in the TPP agreement.  (PDF)

November

L: On November 28, 2016 AARP sent a letter to Senators Warren and Grassley endorsing the Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Act of 2016.  This bill, by making certain types of hearing aids available over the counter, requiring the FDA to issue regulations on this new category of over-the-counter hearing aids, and requiring the FDA to update its draft guidance on Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs), among other reforms, would help create a more consumer-friendly market for hearing devices. (PDF)  

L: On November 29, 2016 AARP sent a letter to Senators Hatch, Wyden, Isakson, and Warner expressing support for the direction of the the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act.  AARP is generally supportive of the direction of your draft legislation, and believe that it would take some important steps to improve care for the millions of Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions. (PDF)

December

L: On December 28, 2016 AARP sent letters to the entire Congress expressing AARP’s views on the ACA and health care reform.  AARP supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) because on balance it addresses health care priorities that are important to all Americans age 50 and older:  protecting and improving Medicare’s benefits and financing; providing access to affordable quality coverage; preventing insurers from engaging in discriminatory practices; lowering prescription drug costs; providing new incentives to expand home and community based services; and strengthening efforts to fight fraud, waste, and abuse.  As Congress considers legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, it will be important for any health care legislation to include older Americans’ priorities. House (PDF); Senate (PDF)

Next Article

Read This