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2021 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.

April

C: On April 7, 2021 AARP submitted written comments to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra regarding proposed Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy Rule to Support, and Remove Barriers to, Coordinated Care and Individual Engagement. AARP agrees that revisions are necessary to keep pace with technological innovation and ensure our health system is able to deliver person- and family-centered care. In the communication, AARP provided comments on specific proposed changes impacting the individual and family-caregiver experience. (PDF)

March

S: On March 23, 2021 AARP submitted testimony to the Subcommittee on Health of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce for a hearing entitled “Building on the ACA: Legislation to Expand Health Coverage and Lower Costs.” There will be a number of bills discussed at the hearing that will build on recent accomplishments and improve access to quality, affordable health insurance coverage. While the recent improvements to the ACA will benefit millions of Americans, AARP supports three specific legislative actions to further improve the overall affordability and quality of health insurance coverage, and outlined each in the statement. (PDF)

L: On March 18, 2021 AARP sent a letter to congressional leadership urging prompt, bipartisan action to prevent expected cuts to Medicare. A 2% cut is scheduled for April 1 and a 4% cut is expected to be triggered on October 1 without congressional intervention. While these cuts do not directly impact Medicare benefits, they do reduce payment to clinicians and hospital, which could cause people with Medicare difficulty in accessing care or finding a provider. (PDF)

S: On March 18, 2021 AARP Massachusetts Volunteer State President Sandra Harris submitted testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging for a hearing entitled “COVID-19 One Year Later:  Addressing Health Care Needs for At-risk Americans.” COVID-19 has been particularly hard on Americans over the age of 50 and people of color. Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 95 percent of the deaths from COVID-19 have been among people age 50 and older. The situation in America’s nursing homes is particularly dire. (PDF)

S: On March 17, 2021 testimony was provided by AARP Louisiana State Director Denise Bottcher on behalf of AARP before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance for a hearing entitled “A National Tragedy:  COVID-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.” The situation in our nation’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities has been alarming since the beginning of the pandemic. Since then, AARP has consistently advocated for the health, safety and well-being of residents and staff. (PDF)

L: On March 17, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Patrick Toomey (R-PA) in support of the Nursing Home Reform Modernization Act. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a spotlight on some of the real challenges facing our nation’s nursing homes and the ongoing importance of safeguarding the quality of care, quality of life, health, safety, and well-being of nursing home residents and staff. Importantly, this bill would identify and increase transparency around facilities with a history of serious quality issues and ensure they receive more frequent inspections. (PDF)

February

L: On February 25, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell outlining AARP’s priorities with regard to the COVID relief package currently making its way through Congress. In the letter, AARP notes the following priority issues for Congressional leadership:  Vaccine Distribution; Direct Payment Relief from Economic Shocks; Nursing Homes, Other Long-Term Care Facilities, and Home and Community-Based Services; Further Investments in Federal Nutrition Programs; Health Care Access and Affordability; Emergency Paid Family and Sick Leave; Age Discrimination; Financial Support for Unemployed Older Workers; Housing and Transportation; and Pension Relief. (PDF)

L: On February 23, 2021 AARP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services concerning the important issue of in-person visitation for nursing home and other long-term care facility residents. AARP urged the Acting Administrator for CMS to update guidance, criteria, and support for safe in-person visitation and collect and make public daily data about COVID-19 in these facilities, including vaccinations of residents and staff. (PDF)

L: AARP has provided a letter dated February 3, 2021 to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and Subcommittee on Health in preparation for a hearing being held to examine the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and distribution process. In the letter to Committee Chair Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo and Ranking Member Brett Guthrie AARP noted that it is critical that these vaccines are administered as efficiently and quickly as possible, and to take immediate action to address access problems and mitigate whatever barriers may be causing these delays. Full-scale mobilization is necessary, and any slowdowns or early bottlenecks in the production and distribution systems need to be urgently addressed. (PDF)

January

L: On January 27, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Joni Earnest (R-IA) endorsing the Advancing Connectivity during the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Seniors Act (ACCESS Act). The ACCESS Act would provide $50 million to the Telehealth Resource Center Program to help facilitate the development of telehealth technologies for nursing homes, improving access to virtual visitation for nursing home residents and their families during the coronavirus public health emergency. (PDF)

C: On January 26, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Acting Administrator Liz Richter for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services providing comments on the interim final rule on a Most Favored Nation (MFN) Model for Medicare Part B drugs. In the letter, AARP outlined specific support for the MFN model.  AARP also expressed appreciation for the agency’s focus on the discrepancy between high U.S. drug prices and the lower prices paid in other developed countries, as well as its ongoing efforts to help lower Medicare Part B drug prices and out-of-pocket costs for the millions of older Americans struggling to afford the medications they need. (PDF)

L: On January 25, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) endorsing the Advancing Connectivity during the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Seniors Act (ACCESS Act). The ACCESS Act would provide $50 million to the Telehealth Resource Center Program to help facilitate the development of telehealth technologies for nursing homes, improving access to virtual visitation for nursing home residents and their families during the coronavirus public health emergency. (PDF)

L: On January 22, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Representatives Katie Porter (D-CA) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) in support of the Medicare Economic Security Solutions Act. This legislation would significantly reduce the costly Part B late-enrollment penalty many Medicare beneficiaries face. It will also count COBRA, Veterans Administration, and retiree coverage as creditable coverage for special enrollment periods to help reduce confusion and ease the transition into Medicare. (PDF)

L: On January 11, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Secretary Alex Azar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urging the Secretary to take immediate action to address the issues that have slowed down vaccinations across the country. AARP’s 38 million members urgently want to see an end to the coronavirus pandemic. So many people, especially older Americans, have upended their lives over the past nine months. Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 95 percent of the deaths from COVID-19 have been among people 50 and older. That is why it is so important that older people be prioritized to receive these vaccines. (PDF)