Skip to content
 

2022 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.

November

C: On November 21, 2022 AARP submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services concerning Tennessee’s TennCare III Section 1115 Demonstration Waiver Amendment 3 request. AARP’s comments focus specifically on Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) enhancements in CHOICES, which serves older adults and adults with physical disabilities. (PDF)

C: On November 4, 2022 AARP provided comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to the Request for Information seeking public input on accessing health care and related challenges, understanding provider experiences, advancing health equity, and assessing the impact of waivers and flexibilities provided in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. AARP shares CMS’ goal of empowering all individuals, especially older Americans, with the knowledge and resources necessary to efficiently navigate the health care system and access comprehensive health care. (PDF)

C: On November 3, 2022 AARP provided comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on a proposed Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Basic Health Program (BHP) streamlining rule. AARP is supportive of these proposals moving to streamline application, eligibility, determination, enrollment, and renewal processes for these programs. (PDF)

October

C: On October 20, 2022 AARP submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on a proposed Medicaid quality measure reporting rule. AARP is pleased to see these proposals moving Medicaid towards mandatory, standardized reporting on the quality of health care provided to Medicaid beneficiaries across all states. AARP urged CMS to keep the needs of Medicaid beneficiaries and their families front and center as it finalizes this rule and makes longer-term policy decisions. (PDF)

C: On October 3, 2022 AARP submitted comments to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services responding to a “Proposed Rule on Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities.” The rule would reinstate regulatory protections against discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in covered programs and activities, consistent with Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. It will also make significant progress towards ensuring all Americans have the opportunity to attain their full health potential no matter who they are or how they identify themselves. (PDF)

September

C: On September 26, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce responding to a Request for Information concerning “Disability Policies in the 21st Century:  Building Opportunities for Work and Inclusion.” In the letter, AARP urges the prioritization of policy changes that expand access to services that help older adults and people with disabilities live in their homes and communities and support family caregivers and do not have adverse or unintended consequences or restrict eligibility for services. (PDF)

L: On September 20, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means praising the Committee’s bipartisan efforts to address behavioral health care needs and the factors contributing to gaps in care.  The provisions included in Committee Prints 117-1 and 117-2 would take important steps toward ensuring that Medicare enrollees can access the care and treatment they need. (PDF)

L: On September 16, 2022 AARP sent letters of endorsement for the Improving Access to Advance Care Planning Act to U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and to U.S. Representative Earl Blumenaur (D-OR). This legislation would increase access to advance care planning services for people with Medicare by waiving cost-sharing for these services and enabling licensed clinical social workers to provide them. (Senate – PDF) (House – PDF)

C: On September 6, 2022 AARP submitted a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services providing comments on the CMS proposed rule to make revisions to Medicare Part B payment policies. AARP’s comments support a proposal to expand Medicare coverage of medically-necessary dental services, support increased access to audiologist services, and increased access to behavioral health services, among other topics. (PDF)

August

C: On August 30, 2022 AARP submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in response to a request for information on Medicare Advantage. AARP offered input and recommendations regard the MA program based around the categories of Advancing Health Equity, Expanding Access: Coverage and Care, and Support Affordability and Sustainability. (PDF)

C: On August 16, 2022 AARP submitted comments to the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on a Medicare home health proposed payment rule. AARP’s comments focus on monitoring the effects of the implementation of the Patient Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), the statutory behavioral payment adjustments required after the change to a 30-day episode of care, the collection of claims data on the use of telecommunications technology in home health, the Home Health Quality Reporting Program, equity, and the Expanded Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) Model. (PDF)

L: On August 15, 2022 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Todd Young (R-IN), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) endorsing the Informing Grandfamilies Act. Nationwide, more than 2.7 million children are raised by grandparents, other relatives, and close family friends—also known as kinship caregivers. This legislation would help provide kinship caregivers with information about available benefits and services, which can go a long way toward helping not only the caregivers, but the children as well. (PDF)

L: On August 9, 2022, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to vote for the historic reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act that will lower prescription drug prices and keep health care affordable for millions. The Inflation Reduction Act will finally require Medicare to leverage its buying power and begin to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices. It will also give peace of mind to millions of seniors with high drug costs by capping their out-of-pocket Part D drug spending and insulin co-pays, while requiring drug companies to pay penalties if they raise their prices faster than inflation, which will help rein in seniors’ out-of-pocket cost sharing and Medicare drug plan premiums. Finally, this bill keeps health insurance affordable for millions of Americans who qualify for expanded premium assistance that was first passed in the American Rescue Plan Act. (PDF)

L: On August 6, 2022, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging them to vote for the historic reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act that will lower prescription drug prices and keep health care affordable for millions. The Inflation Reduction Act will finally require Medicare to leverage its buying power and begin to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices. It will also give peace of mind to millions of seniors with high drug costs by capping their out-of-pocket Part D drug spending and insulin co-pays, while requiring drug companies to pay penalties if they raise their prices faster than inflation, which will help rein in seniors’ out-of-pocket cost sharing and Medicare drug plan premiums. Finally, this bill keeps health insurance affordable for millions of Americans who qualify for expanded premium assistance that was first passed in the American Rescue Plan Act. (PDF)

July

L: On July 27, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means in support of the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2022 (H.R.8487). This bipartisan bill provides the necessary framework for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to address findings from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General that Medicare Advantage enrollees are denied prior authorization and payment requests for care more often than traditional Medicare enrollees. (PDF)

L: On July 25, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Dick Durbin and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and to Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) endorsing the Interagency Patent Coordination and Improvement Act of 2022 (S.4430). This bill would establish an interagency task force between the USPTO and the FDA for purposes of sharing information and providing technical assistance with respect to patents involving human drugs and biological products, while respecting the distinct purviews of these agencies, and would cut down on unnecessary bureaucracy between these two agencies in a way that ultimately benefits consumers. (PDF)

L: On July 14, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Susan Rice, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council sharing ideas to inform the national strategy for the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The letter focuses primarily on specific actions the federal government should take to improve food access and affordability through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) given the reach and effectiveness of the program. AARP also believes it is critical to take a broad approach that addresses the underlying causes of food insecurity—including poverty—to achieve the ambitious goal of ending hunger in America. (PDF)

June

L: On June 28, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Chair Diana DeGette and Ranking Member H. Morgan Griffith of the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations providing a statement for a hearing the Committee held entitled “Protecting American’s Seniors:  Oversight of Private Sector Medicare Advantage Plans.” This is an important follow up to the recently released report by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General that shines a light on issues within Medicare Advantage (MA) that are preventing beneficiaries from receiving necessary and appropriate care. (PDF)

C: On June 27, 2022 AARP submitted a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services providing comments on the proposed rule implementing changes to the Medicare Part B enrollment process required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) (P.L. 116-260). The Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act—passed as part of the CAA—provides long-overdue solutions to modernize and simplify Part B enrollment and establishes important flexibilities for the Secretary to protect individuals facing exceptional circumstances. (PDF)

C: On June 16, 2022 AARP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services providing comments on proposed changes to the Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System for fiscal year 2023. AARP’s comments focus on measuring health care quality disparities and proposed changes to the data collection and reporting requirements for hospitals. (PDF)

C: On June 10, 2022 AARP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services providing comments for an important proposed rule that is vital to the health, safety, and well-being of nursing home residents and important to their family caregivers who may often assist with their loved ones’ care and advocate on their behalf. Specifically, AARP’s comments responded to a request for information on revising requirements for nursing homes to establish mandatory minimum staffing levels, a critical issue for residents and their families. (PDF)

C: On June 2, 2022 AARP sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living providing comments in response to a request for information on Older Americans Act (OAA) regulations. With some exceptions, current regulations for programs authorized under OAA date from 1988 and have not been substantively revised. There are currently no regulations to support the implementation of the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), which was created in 2000 to support a range of services that assist family and other unpaid caregivers. AARP’s comments focused on Grants to State and Community Programs on Aging. (PDF)

May

L: On May 18, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Secretary Xavier Becerra of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urging the Secretary to extend the public health emergency (PHE) until COVID-19 cases have declined significantly and there is an orderly transition in place to ensure all Americans can get the care they need. Like all Americans, AARP’s nearly 38 million members are eager to see an end to this pandemic, but while thousands of mostly older people continue to die of this virus every week, there continues to be a very real and ongoing public health emergency. (PDF)

L: On May 11, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Jon Tester and Ranking Member Jerry Moran of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs endorsing the Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act. This bill would establish a three-year pilot program to assess the effectiveness of providing assisted living services to eligible veterans. The feedback and experience of participating veterans would also be examined. The legislation also includes important provisions regarding the pilot’s structure, including the availability of services in rural or highly rural areas, provider participation in Medicaid, inspections and standards for facilities, and continuity of care for veterans when the pilot program ends. (PDF)

April

L: On April 26, 2022 AARP sent letters to Ranking Member Jerry Moran and Chairman Jon Tester of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and to Chairwoman Julia Brownley and Ranking Member Jack Bergman of the Subcommittee on Health for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs endorsing the Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act of 2022. The legislation would expand access to current VA programs providing care at home, provide for improved coordination among VA programs and with Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) programs, and improve transitions and access to services for veterans and family caregivers denied or discharged from the VA Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. (Senate – PDF) (House – PDF)

C: On April 5, 2022 AARP provided comments to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding the New Jersey FamilyCare Comprehensive Demonstration 1115 Waiver Renewal Application. AARP’s letter supports many of the waiver renewal’s goals and applauds a number of the proposed innovative programs such asthose that expand housing supports, including coverage of home modifications, the development of a Medicaid housing unit, increased responsibility and accountability for managed care organization (MCO) housing specialists, and proposed nursing home diversion and transition efforts. The letter also urges the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to consider and work with New Jersey to implement additional opportunities that can further the goals of their Demonstration and improve the quality of care for all beneficiaries. (PDF)

March

C: On March 31, 2022 AARP provided comments to the Office of Science and Technology Policy in response to a request for information (RFI) on “Strengthening Community Health Through Technology.” Digital health technology advancements must work for all Americans – across all generational, geographic, cultural, and economic divides – so as not to exasperate health disparities accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. AARP responded to the topics requested in the RFI, but also provided additional AARP data, reports, and supporting documents on the topics in the RFI. (PDF)

L: On March 31, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of the U.S. House of Representatives urging Congress to enact the full package of prescription drug pricing reforms, including Medicare negotiation, passed by the House of Representatives and supported by the vast majority of American voters. These policies taken together – Medicare negotiation, capping out of pocket costs under Medicare Part D, penalizing drug companies that increase their prices faster than inflation and capping co-pays for insulin – will provide long-overdue relief to older Americans across the country and finally deliver on the decades-old promise to lower drug prices. (PDF)

L: On March 31, 2022 AARP sent a letter calling on Congress to immediately pass critical funding necessary to protect the health and safety of older Americans. The United States has now seen more than one million deaths from COVID-19 and a staggering 93 percent of reported deaths have been people age 50 and older. The older Americans lost to this virus were parents and grandparents, community members and friends. Without action by Congress, our country will not have the tools necessary to continue fighting this disease. (PDF)

S: On March 22, 2022 AARP provided a statement for the record to U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Bob Casey and Ranking Member Tim Scott for a hearing titled “An Economy That Cares: The Importance of Home-Based Services.” Families in search of long-term care services, including care at home, now enter a world that is confusing, costly, frightening, under-regulated, and lacking in transparency. Too often, those families feel forced into institutional settings, while individuals who end up in nursing homes often yearn to stay in their homes near family and friends. Finding care at home is extremely challenging: families often must desperately cobble together a patchwork of care and services they need. AARP’s statement covered the topics of Home Care, Supporting Family Caregivers, and the Paid Direct Care Workforce. (PDF)

S: On March 16, 2022, AARP submitted a statement for the record to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance for a hearing titled “Prescription Drug Price Inflation:  An Urgent Need to Lower Drug Prices in Medicare.” Current prescription drug price trends are not sustainable and action is needed now. It is unfair that Americans continue to pay the highest drug prices in the world – three times what other nations pay for the same prescription drugs. The drug industry has been price gouging seniors for too long. Enacting the policies before this committee, including allowing Medicare to negotiate, will finally deliver on the promise of lower drug prices that will help ensure that all patients have affordable access to the drugs that they need to get and stay healthy. (PDF)

C: On March 7, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services providing comments on the proposed CY 2023 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program (Part D). Comments focused on efforts to close the health equity gap, marketing and communication requirements for MA and Part D, MA network adequacy rules, the Part C and Part D quality rating system, and pharmacy price concessions in the negotiated price. (PDF)

February

S: On February 16, 2022 AARP submitted a statement for the record for a hearing that was held on February 2 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth on The Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and the Future of Medicare Financing. The Committee’s efforts are to examine the Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and the future of Medicare financing. Medicare continues to provide critical health coverage for older Americans, and measures to address Medicare’s long-term financial outlook are necessary to protect access to high quality care and prevent simply shifting costs to current and future Medicare beneficiaries. AARP urged the Committee to work together on the necessary combination of policies to the program’s finances and payments to maximize the value of every dollar spent. (PDF)

S: On February 14, 2022 AARP submitted statements for the record for two hearings. The first was held on Feb. 1, 2022 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders:  Responding to the Growing Crisis, and the second was held on Feb. 2, 2022 by the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means on America’s Mental Health Crisis. The lack of access and coverage for mental health services is an ongoing problem, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated unmet behavioral health needs and highlighted the continuing struggle that individuals face in accessing timely, quality mental health care and substance use disorder services. (Senate – PDF) (House – PDF)

L: On February 7, 2022 AARP along with more than 90 organizations sent a group letter to all Democratic U.S. Senators urging the Senate to immediately advance a reconciliation package that includes the reforms to lower prescription drug prices agreed to in the Build Back Better Act. The organizations stated, “If Congress lets the pharmaceutical industry overcharge Americans and dictate astronomical prices for brand-name drugs in our country, then patients, workers, employers, and taxpayers will continue to shoulder the burden of prices that are nearly three times what people in other comparable nations pay. Congress has repeatedly promised to address this problem, and the American people need the help now more than ever.” (PDF)

January

L: On January 27, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services providing comments on the Proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2023. AARP’s comments focused on efforts to better support consumers in making enrollment decisions, as well as telehealth services offerings, and protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in health care services and institutions. (PDF)

L: On January 25, 2022 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra concerning the current lack of access to at-home COVID-19 tests for Medicare beneficiaries. AARP applauded the Administration’s announcement on January 10 that insurance companies and health plans would be required to cover up to eight over-the-counter at-home tests per covered individual per month at no cost to consumers. However, not having a similar requirement for Medicare is a glaring omission and is unacceptable to AARP and the over 64 million Medicare beneficiaries. AARP urged the Administration to include no-cost coverage under Medicare so that seniors have regular access to free at-home tests as quickly as possible. (PDF)

L: On January 25, 2022 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra expressing support for a recent instruction to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reassess the 2022 Medicare Part B premium. The 2022 premium increase—largely attributed to a single expensive prescription drug—highlights how high prescription drug prices affect all Americans and underscores the need for comprehensive reform. (PDF)

L: On January 24, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi, Ph.D. of the Social Security Administration concerning an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Addressing Certain Types of Fraud Affecting Medicare Income Related Monthly Adjusted Amounts. This effort being made by the Social Security Administration is to provide relief for Medicare beneficiaries whose incomes are affected by fraud or theft. AARP is being given the opportunity to help Social Security update regulations to better respond to the unique financial circumstances of fraud victims. (PDF)

C: On January 18, 2022 AARP sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration providing comments on a proposed rule establishing a new category for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. While AARP strongly supports the creation of this new category, and commends the FDA for its thoughtful approach and prioritizing the needs of consumers in these draft regulations, AARP provided comments that focus on further strengthening consumer rights and protections. (PDF)

L: On January 4, 2022 AARP and Patients For Affordable Drugs Now sent a joint letter to all Democratic U.S. Senator’s offices emphasizing the historic opportunity to enact crucial provisions to lower prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs for millions of older Americans and their families as negotiations around the reconciliation package continue. The need is staggering ̶ Americans have paid far too much for their medications for far too long. (PDF)