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Government Watch 2019 Health and Family Archive Skip to content

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2019 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.

August

L: On August 12, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rick Scott (R-FL) endorsing S. 2387, the We Protect American Investment in Drugs (PAID) Act.  This legislation would help to ensure that prescription drugs developed in part or in full with federal funding are reasonably priced. (PDF)

July

L: On July 25, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Ron Wyden in support of bipartisan legislation, the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act.  In the letter, AARP commended both the Chairman and Ranking Member for working across the aisle to lower prescription drug prices, premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and save billions of dollars for taxpayers.  (PDF)

L: On July 17, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Greg Walden of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce thanking them for holding a hearing to markup several health care bills important to consumers and Medicare beneficiaries. AARP expressed support of several bills in particular, and applauded the committee for working to advance these towards passage. (PDF)

L: On July 15, 2019 AARP sent a letter of endorsement to U.S. Representatives Andy Levin (D-MI) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) endorsing the Supporting Family Caregivers Act of 2019.  The Act would help encourage and support the use of caregiver assessments under the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). (PDF)

June

L: On June 28, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) endorsing S. 1999, the Improving Low Income Access to Prescription Drugs Act to permanently extend the Limited Income Newly Eligible Transition (LINET) program.  This program has helped ensure that low-income beneficiaries have continuous, affordable access to the prescription medications that they need. This is especially important for older Americans with chronic conditions who need uninterrupted access to their prescription drugs. (PDF)

L: On June 26, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) endorsing the Protecting Married Seniors from Impoverishment Act. This important legislation will help ensure that more older adults and people with disabilities can continue to live in their homes and communities.  The Act provides a critical solution by making Medicaid HCBS spousal impoverishment protections permanent. It would help individuals to continue living in their own homes now and in the future, avoid unnecessary burdens for states, and support states’ continued forward progress on balancing their LTSS systems. (PDF)

L: On June 25, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means thanking them for holding a series of votes on bills that will improve the availability and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries and consumers.  In particular, AARP applauded the introduction of the Beneficiary Education Tools, Telehealth, and Extenders Reauthorization (BETTER) Act of 2019 (H.R. 3417), which includes several enhancements to the Medicare program.  (PDF)

L: On June 25, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) endorsing S. 1209, the Reforming Evergreening and Manipulation that Extends Drug Years (REMEDY) Act, to help lower drug prices by improving generic competition.  The REMEDY Act is one step to help reduce drug prices by addressing one of the patent abuse tactics that brand-name manufacturers use to thwart generic competition. (PDF)

L: On June 25, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairwoman Anna Eshoo and Ranking Member Michael Burgess, M.D. of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health thanking them both for holding a hearing on the bipartisan Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2035).  AARP has endorsed this legislation to help support family caregivers caring for loved ones of all ages.  The Act would reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Program (among other actions) that helps family caregivers caring for loved ones regardless of age or disability, including by providing respite services, training respite workers and volunteers, providing information about and assistance in accessing services, and better-coordinating services.  (PDF)

L: On June 18, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) endorsing S.1416, the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act. This legislation will help to reduce abusive patenting practices that keep lower-cost generic medications from coming to market. (PDF)

L: On June 18, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Angus King (I-ME) in support of S. 1628, the Paid Family Leave Pilot Extension Act. The bill would extend the business tax credit for the paid family and medical leave pilot program, which is set to expire on December 31, 2019, for an additional three years. The pilot provides up to a twenty-five percent tax credit for employers that voluntarily offer up to twelve weeks of paid family leave to employees. (PDF)

L: On June 18, 2019 AARP along with 17 other organization sent letters to U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and U.S. Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-CA) and Tom Reed (R-NY) expressing support for the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act (S. 1443/H.R. 2730).  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.  (Senate:  PDF) (House:  PDF)

C: On June 18, 2019 AARP submitted comments to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services concerning a Medicare skilled nursing facility (SNF) payment proposed rule.  The comments focused on the proposal to allow group therapy to be with up to six residents instead of the current four residents; proposed quality measures; the request for information (RFI) on SNF Quality Reporting Program (QRP) quality measures, measure concepts, and standardized patient assessment data elements (SPADEs); and data collection and reporting on the impacts of the new SNF payment system changes that are effective October 1, 2019.  (PDF)

C: On June 18, 2019 AARP submitted comments to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services concerning a Medicare hospice proposed payment rule. The comments focused on the proposed hospice election statement content modifications, a proposed addendum to provide greater coverage transparency, and the request for information (RFI) regarding the role of hospice and coordination of care at the end-of-life. (PDF)

L: On June 12, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairwoman Anna Eshoo and Ranking Member Michael Burgess of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health concerning “No More Surprises:  Protecting Patients from Surprise Medical Bills.”  In the letter, AARP thanked both officials for holding a hearing on June 12, 2019 to examine the issue of surprise medical billing. AARP strongly supports efforts to protect consumers from expensive surprise medical bills when they believe they are appropriately seeking care from in-network providers (facilities or professionals) or during an emergency.  (PDF)

L: On June 6, 2019 AARP along with 53 other organizations sent a coalition letter to U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Representatives Katie Porter (D-CA) and Kenny Marchant (R-TX) thanking them respectively for introducing S.110, the Medical Expense Savings Act and H.R.2073, a bill which would make permanent the 7.5 percent threshold for the medical expense deduction.  For the past 75 years, Americans with high health care costs have been able to deduct medical expenses from their taxes. For the approximately 4.4 million Americans who annually take this deduction, it provides important tax relief which helps offset the costs of acute and chronic medical conditions for older Americans, children, pregnant women and other adults as well as the costs associated with long term care and assisted living. (Senate:  PDF) (House:  PDF)

C: On June 6, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Greg Walden of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Chairman Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means providing stakeholder comments on legislation to cap out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D enrollees.  AARP shares the Committees’ goal of reducing out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors, many of whom are struggling to afford the medications they need. (PDF)    

C: On June 5, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions providing stakeholder comments on the committee’s discussion draft legislation, “The Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019.”  The draft takes steps to address important issues including: surprise medical billing; prescription drug prices; and transparency of health care cost, quality, and insurance information.  (PDF)

L: On June 4, 2019 AARP sent a thank you letter to Chairman Lloyd Doggett and Ranking Member Devin Nunes of the House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Health in response to a hearing held on May 21, 2019 to examine the issue of surprise medical billing.  AARP strongly supports this effort to protect consumers from expensive surprise medical bills when they believe they are appropriately seeking care from in-network providers (facilities or professionals) or during an emergency.  (PDF)

May

L: On May 28, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Greg Walden of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce supporting several of the protections included in their draft legislation, the No Surprises Act.  This draft bill largely addresses AARP’s priority of protecting consumers against surprise bills from non-network providers who provide services without the consumer’s knowledge or consent.  (PDF)    

L: On May 24, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Rob Portman (R-OH) endorsing the Recovering Excessive Funds for Unused and Needless Drugs (REFUND) Act (S.551).  This legislation will help prevent against overcharging patients and the federal government for certain prescription drugs by requiring prescription drug manufacturers to reimburse for the cost of excessive medication. It will also help to reduce waste within the Medicare program by encouraging drug manufacturers to package their drugs in the correct dosage. (PDF)

L: On May 24, 2019 AARP sent letters of support for the Disability Integration Act (S.117 and H.R. 555) to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), and U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).  AARP supports the goals of the Disability Integration Act, which aims to ensure that older adults and people with disabilities who are in institutions or at risk of institutionalization are able to live in the home or communities where they want to be.  (Senate:  PDF) (House:  PDF)

L: On May 21, 2019 AARP submitted a letter to U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. and Ranking Member Greg Walden, and to the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Chair Anna Eshoo and Ranking Member Michael Burgess concerning a Subcommittee hearing on improving drug price transparency.  The hearing focused on five bills that AARP has endorsed:  1) H.R. 2296, the Fair Accountability and Innovative Research (FAIR) Drug Pricing Act; 2) H.R. 2069, Stopping the Pharmaceutical Industry from Keeping Drugs Expensive  SPIKE) Act; 3) H.R. 2087, the Drug Price Transparency Act; 4) H.R. 2115, the Public Disclosure of Drug Discounts Act; and 5) H.R. 2064, the Sunshine for Samples Act. (PDF)

L: On May 16, 2019 AARP sent a letter of endorsement to U.S. Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for S. 1437, the Drug-price Transparency in Communications (DTC) Act.  The Act codifies the requirement that drug manufacturers list the price of their drugs in direct-to-consumer advertisements (DTC).  This legislation would make the recently finalized rule permanent by requiring the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to compel drug manufacturers to disclose pricing information in their DTC advertisements. (PDF)

L: On May 16, 2019 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. House of Representatives in support of H.R. 987, the “Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act.”  This legislation is an important step towards lowering prescription drug costs and protecting the health care of millions of Americans who get their coverage through the individual market. (PDF)

L: On May 14, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Chair, and James Comer, Ranking Member of the U.S. House Committee on Education & Labor, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services thanking them for holding a hearing entitled, “Examining the Older Americans Act:  Promoting Independence and Dignity for Older Americans”, and for the opportunity to share AARP’s priorities for prompt reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA).  AARP believes that older persons would be best served with an on-time reauthorization that maintains the critical service and information roles of OAA programs and that promotes greater responsiveness to the needs of older Americans. (PDF)

L: On May 14, 2019 AARP sent two letters, one to U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (R-WI), Angus King (I-ME), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Chris Coons (D-DE), and to U.S. Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-CA) and Tom Reed (R-NY) endorsing the Credit for Caring Act.  The Act would create a new, non-refundable federal tax credit of up to $3,000 for eligible family caregivers to help offset a portion of caregiving out-of-pocket costs. Eligible working family caregivers caring for loved ones of all ages could receive the credit if the care recipient meets certain functional or cognitive limitations or other requirements. (Senate: PDF) (House:  PDF)

L: On May 9, 2019 AARP sent letters to U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Mike Braun (R-IN) and U.S. House Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Francis Rooney (R-FL) endorsing the Fair Accountability and Innovative Research (FAIR) Drug Pricing Act.  The FAIR Drug Pricing Act would require drug  manufacturers to report and justify significant price increases. Specifically, the bill would require drug manufacturers to notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and submit a transparency and justification report 30 days before they increase the price of certain drugs that cost at least $100 by more than 10 percent over one year or 25 percent over three years. (Senate: PDF) (House:  PDF)

L: On May 9, 2019 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. House of Representatives endorsing H.R. 986, the” Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act.”  The Act is an important step to address the adverse impacts that recent administrative changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have had on health insurance for all Americans, especially those age 50-64.  (PDF)

L: On May 8, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senate Chair of the Special Committee on Aging Susan Collins and Ranking Member Bob Casey thanking them for holding this hearing entitled, “The Older Americans Act: Protecting and Supporting Seniors as they Age”, and for the opportunity to share AARP’s priorities for prompt reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA).  AARP has a proud history of supporting the Older Americans Act.  AARP’s overarching priority is to ensure that the Act maintains critical service and information roles that promote greater responsiveness to the needs of older Americans. To that end, AARP believes that older persons would be best served with an on-time reauthorization.  (PDF)

L: On May 1, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Todd Young (R-IN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Rob Portman (R-OH) endorsing the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act of 2019.  The Act will direct the Social Security Administration to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to inform potential Medicare beneficiaries of their eligibility annually for five years prior to turning age 65. This will help ensure potential Medicare beneficiaries approaching age 65 have adequate time to plan for their transition to Medicare. (PDF)

April

L: On April 30, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary in support of H.R. 965, the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act, and H.R. 2375, the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act.  Both bills will help eliminate loopholes that prevent lower-priced generic medications from entering the market. (PDF)

L: On April 15, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Susan Wild (D-PA) and David Joyce (R-OH) endorsing the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (H.R. 2150).  This bill recognizes and authorizes nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants as eligible health care professionals who can order home health services under Medicare. (PDF)

L: On April 12, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance endorsing S. 474, the Stopping the Pharmaceutical Industry from Keeping drugs Expensive (SPIKE) Act.  The SPIKE Act would require drug manufacturers to report and justify significant price increases. Specifically, the bill would require manufacturers to justify if they double the price of a drug within a single year. (PDF)

L: On April 9, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Robert Scott and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor endorsing H.R. 1010, a bill to provide that the rule entitled “Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance” shall have no force or effect. This bill would help restore and enforce the core consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and is an important step to address the adverse impacts that recent administrative changes to the ACA have had on health insurance for all Americans, particularly those age 50-64. (PDF)

L: On April 9, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means endorsing the Prescription Drug Sunshine, Transparency, Accountability and Reporting (STAR) Act. As a first step, these bills will improve transparency and help to combat skyrocketing drug prices. (PDF)

C: On April 8, 2019 AARP submitted a comment letter to Inspector General Daniel Levinson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service concerning the proposed rule removing safe harbor protection for prescription drug rebates and creating new safe harbor protections for certain point-of-sale discounts and pharmacy benefit manager service fees.  In the letter, AARP noted its strong support of policies to lower drug prices and reduce consumers’ drug costs – with the ultimate goal of increasing access to necessary medications at affordable prices.  However, AARP is concerned that the rule as proposed will not achieve these goals and may in fact lead to even higher prescription drug prices. (PDF)

L: On April 3, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Greg Walden of the U. S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce endorsing three bills that were scheduled for markup:  1)  H.R. 986, the “Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act,” 2)  H.R. 987, the “More Health Education Act,” and 3)  H.R. 1010, a bill to provide that the rule entitled “short-term, Limited Duration Insurance” shall have no force or effect.  The three bills would restore and enforce the core consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and are important steps to address adverse impacts that recent administrative changes to the ACA have had on health insurance for all Americans, particularly those age 50-64. (PDF)

L: On April 3, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Greg Walden of the U. S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce endorsing two bills that were scheduled for markup:  1)  H.R. 965, the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act, and 2)  H.R. 1499, the Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act.  Both bills will help eliminate loopholes that prevent the entry of lower-priced generic medications to market. (PDF)

L: On April 1, 2019 AARP along with forty-seven other national organizations sent a letter to U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) expressing support and endorsement of the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act that will to reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Program at $200 million over five years.  The program provides competitive grants to states to establish or enhance statewide Lifespan Respite systems that maximize existing resources and help ensure that quality respite is available and accessible to all family caregivers. (PDF)

March

L: On March 29, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) endorsing the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (S. 296).  This bill recognizes and authorizes nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants as eligible health care professionals who can order home health services under Medicare. (PDF)

L: On March 29, 2019 AARP sent a letter to the Congressional Telehealth Caucus and a bipartisan coalition of U.S. Senators in response to their request to stakeholders for feedback as they craft a telehealth package that expands access to health care services.  Services provided by telehealth have great potential to help consumers more easily connect with various health care clinicians, maintain their quality of life, and remain in their communities longer. (PDF)

L: On March 26, 2019 AARP sent letters to U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and U.S. Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY) endorsing the Mental Health Access Improvement Act in both chambers (S. 286 and H.R. 945).  The Act would provide for coverage of mental health counselor and marriage and family therapist services under Medicare Part B. Improving access to mental health services is especially important as mental and behavioral health issues are becoming an increasing problem for older Americans – a problem that will only escalate further as the population ages. (Senate – PDF) (House – PDF)

L: On March 26, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Tom Reed (R-NY) in support of the Mental Health Telemedicine Expansion Act (H.R. 1301).  This bill would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive mental health treatment via telehealth by removing the originating site requirements for certain services. This would make it easier for Medicare beneficiaries to receive mental health care.  AARP believes mental health is a fundamental component of overall health. (PDF)

L: On March 25, 2019 AARP sent a letter of endorsement for the Protecting Married Seniors from Impoverishment Act (H.R. 1343) to U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Fred Upton (R-MI).  The Act will help ensure that more older adults and people with disabilities can continue to  live in their homes and communities. (PDF)

L: On March 25, 2019 AARP sent a letter of endorsement for the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care Act (EMPOWER Care Act, H.R. 1342) to U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY).  The Act will help more older adults and people with disabilities live in the community. (PDF)

L: On March 25, 2019 AARP sent a letter of endorsement for the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care Act (EMPOWER Care Act, H.R. 1342) to U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).  The Act will help more older adults and people with disabilities live in the community. (PDF)

L: On March 14, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Senator Susan Collins, Chair and Senator Robert Casey, Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging supporting the Guardianship Accountability Act (S.591).  The Act would help states improve guardianship oversight and data collection. AARP is committed to advocating for comprehensive guardianship and power of attorney reforms to help provide vulnerable adults and their family caregivers with the tools they need to make important decisions as quickly as possible regardless of where they live. (PDF)    

L: On March 12, 2019 AARP sent letters to Senators Brown, Collins, Whitehouse, and Capito, and Representatives Courtney and Thompson endorsing the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act.  This bipartisan legislation will help address some of the negative impacts that Medicare beneficiaries can face because of an observation stay in a hospital, especially an extended one. (Senate: PDF) (House: PDF)

L: On March 12, 2019 AARP sent letters to all members of Congress, President Trump, the National Governors Association (NGA), and the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) to announce the launching of a nationwide campaign – in Washington and across the states – calling on lawmakers to enact legislation that will provide relief to older Americans and all consumers struggling to afford their prescription medications.  There is no reason Americans should be paying the highest drug prices in the world. The time to act is now.  AARP will be working to advance federal solutions with the Administration and Congress, and simultaneously pursuing a range of state reforms to address the high price of prescription drugs, which impact both consumers’ pocketbooks and state budgets. (Congress: PDF) (President Trump: PDF) (NGA: PDF) (NCSL: PDF)

L: On March 11, 2019 AARP sent a letter of endorsement to Senators Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley concerning S.64, the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act.  The Act would end the use of pay-for-delay deals that harm consumers by delaying generic drug competition. (PDF

L: On March 11, 2019 AARP sent a letter of endorsement to Representative Bobby Rush concerning H.R. 1499, the Protecting Consumer Access to Generics Drugs Act of 2019.  The Act would end the use of pay-for-delay deals that harm consumers by delaying generic drug competition.  AARP is particularly supportive of the strong enforcement mechanisms included in this legislation to effectively ban the use of pay-for-delay deals. (PDF)

L: On March 5, 2019 AARP submitted a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley, Chair and Senator Ron Wyden, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance that provided AARP’s statement for a hearing set for March 6, 2019 entitled, “Not Forgotten: Protecting Americans from Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes.”  AARP expressed its appreciation for the attention the Committee is giving to the quality of care and quality of life of our country’s nursing home residents, the federal standards for nursing homes, and their enforcement. (PDF)

L: On March 1, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman and Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions offering recommendations to help address America’s rising health care costs.  AARP expressed its appreciation for the Committee’s desire to reduce overall health care spending, particularly by addressing the costs of health care goods and services. Reducing overall health spending should not come from shifting costs onto consumers, diminishing quality, or restricting access to needed care. (PDF)

February

L: On February 26, 2019 AARP submitted a letter of testimony to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Ron Wyden for a committee hearing highlighting rising prescription drug prices.  Prescription drug prices are a high priority for AARP and all older Americans, as older adults are particularly vulnerable to high prescription drug prices. (PDF).

C: On February 19, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Seema Verma, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services providing comments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020.  AARP’s comments covered HHS’ proposed changes to the Navigator Program Standards, the proposed new Special Enrollment Period, and Automatic Enrollment.  (PDF)

L: On February 18, 2019 AARP sent a letter in response to a surprise medical billing request for information from Senators Cassidy, Bennet, Young, Carper, Murkowski, and Hassan.  In the letter, AARP applauded the senators’ bipartisan leadership in improving price transparency.  AARP strongly supports the senators’ efforts to protect consumers from expensive surprise medical bills when they believe they are appropriately seeking care from in-network facilities or during an emergency.  (PDF)

L: On Februrary 13, 2019 AARP sent letters to the Chair and Ranking Members of both the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Committee on Education & Labor, sharing preliminary views on the reauthorization of the programs and services of the Older  Americans Act (OAA), pending formal legislative language.  AARP’s priority is to ensure that the Act maintains critical service and information roles that promote greater responsiveness to the needs of older Americans. In the letter, AARP expressed interest in working with the Committee to ensure the timely reauthorization of the OAA. (Senate - PDF) (House - PDF)

L: On February 13, 2019 AARP sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce endorsing four bills that would restore and enforce the core consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  In the letter, AARP applauded the Subcommittee on Health for holding a hearing to highlight the adverse impacts recent changes implemented by the Administration have had on health insurance for all Americans, especially those age 50-64. (PDF)

L: On February 5, 2019 AARP sent two letters – one to Senators Grassley, Leahy, Lee and Klobuchar, and another to Representatives Cicilline, Sensenbrenner, Welch and McKinley – in support of the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act.  The Act 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. (Senate – PDF) (House – PDF)

January

L: On January 30, 2019 AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins sent a letter to President Trump concerning the high cost of prescription drugs.  In the letter, Jo Ann Jenkins urged the President to take the opportunity of the State of the Union address to highlight this problem for the nation, and to talk about what the Administration will be doing, and how he will work with Congress to combat the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.  AARP’s most recent Rx Price Watch Report found that, on average, the retail prices of brand-name prescription drugs widely used by older Americans increased four times faster than the rate of inflation in 2017. Further, the average annual cost for a brand-name drug used on a chronic basis was nearly $6,800, almost $1,000 higher than the average annual cost in 2015.  (PDF)

S: On Tuesday, January 29, 2019 Dr. Catherine Alicia Georges, National Volunteer President for AARP provided a statement for a hearing before the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee on “Examining the Actions of Drug Companies in Raising Prescription Drug Prices.”  Dr. Georges began her statement noting that prescription drug prices are a high priority for AARP and its members. Older Americans struggle to afford needed and life-saving medications. Most Medicare beneficiaries live on modest incomes, with an annual median of just over $26,000. One-quarter have incomes of just over $15,000. One-quarter have less than $15,000 in savings. This is not a population that has the resources to absorb rapidly escalating prescription drug prices, and many are facing the very real possibility of being unable to afford the medications they need. (PDF)

L: On January 2, 2019 AARP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Director and CMS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kate Goodrich expressing concern about a recent change made to the enforcement structure for nursing facilities that could negatively impact the quality and care received in these facilities. Specifically, the CMS limited the type of civil money penalty (CMP) available for past noncompliance, thus undercutting the enforcement structure for nursing facilities. (PDF)