2015 White House Conference on Aging

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Nora Super and others at Listening Sessions 2014

3. February 2015 15:14
by Nora Super

President Announces New and Enhanced Initiatives to Support Older Americans

3. February 2015 15:14 by Nora Super | 16 Comments

The President’s 2016 Budget will help ensure that older Americans enjoy not only longer but healthier lives. The Budget makes a number of commitments to enhance, advance, and create opportunity for older Americans, especially in the four focus areas of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging: retirement security, healthy aging, long-term care services and supports, and elder justice.

Let me say a little about a few of the Budget items in each area of focus:

To enhance retirement security, the President is committed to ensuring that Social Security is solvent and viable for the American people, now and in the future.  The Administration will oppose any measures that privatize or weaken the Social Security system and will not accept an approach that slashes benefits for future generations or reduces basic benefits for current beneficiaries. 

Additionally, as many as 78 million working Americans - about half the workforce - don't have a retirement savings plan at work. Fewer than 10 percent of those without plans at work contribute to a plan of their own. The President’s Budget expands retirement opportunities for all Americans to help families save and give them better choices to reach a secure retirement. 

To support healthy aging, the Budget proposes a set of initiatives to strengthen Medicare by more closely aligning payments with the costs of providing care, encouraging health care providers to deliver better care and better outcomes for their patients, and improving access to care for beneficiaries. In addition, the Budget includes proposals that would build a stronger foundation for Medicare's future. 

To provide relief from increased prescription drug costs, the Budget proposes to close the Medicare Part D donut hole for brand drugs by 2017, rather than 2020, by increasing discounts from the pharmaceutical industry. The Budget also proposes to provide the Secretary of Health and Human Services with new authority to negotiate with manufacturers on prices for high cost drugs and biologics covered under the Part D program. These proposals represent a few amongst a range of potential options, and the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to address growing drug costs.  

Recognizing the importance of nutrition to healthy aging, the Budget provides over $874 million for Nutrition Services programs, a $60 million increase over the 2015 enacted level, allowing States to provide 208 million meals to over 2 million older Americans nation-wide, helping to halt the decline in service levels for the first time since 2010.  In addition, the Budget helps provide supportive housing for very low-income elderly households, including frail elderly, to allow seniors to age in a stable environment and help them access human services. 

To ensure older individuals and people with disabilities receive services in the most appropriate setting, the Budget proposes expanded access to Medicaid home and community-based long-term care services and supports. First, the Budget expands and simplifies eligibility to encourage more States to provide home and community-based care in their Medicaid programs. The Budget proposes expanding and improving the “Money Follows the Person” Rebalancing demonstration, which helps States provide opportunities for older Americans and people with disabilities to transition back to the community from institutions. The Budget also includes a comprehensive long-term care pilot for up to five States to test, at an enhanced Federal match rate, a more streamlined approach to delivering long-term care services and supports to support greater access and improve quality of care.

The Budget also includes increased discretionary resources for the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) program, which make it easier for Americans nation-wide to learn about and access their health and long-term care services and support options. ADRCs support State efforts to create consumer-friendly entry points into long-term care services at the community level.

The Family Support Initiative will assist family members supporting older adults or people with disabilities across the lifespan. It will complement nearly $50 million in new resources for existing aging programs that are already providing critical help and supports to seniors and their caregivers, such as respite and transportation assistance.

To support evidence-based interventions to reduce elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation, the Budget includes $25 million in discretionary resources for Elder Justice Act programs authorized under the Affordable Care Act. These resources will support standards and infrastructure to improve detection and reporting of elder abuse; grants to States to pilot a new reporting system; and funding to support a coordinated Federal research portfolio to better understand and prevent the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable adults. 

Taken together, these and other initiatives in the Budget will help to change the aging landscape in America to reflect new realities and new opportunities for older Americans, and they will support the dignity, independence, and quality of life of older Americans at a time when we’re seeing a huge surge in the number of older adults. 

As many of you are aware, 2015 marks the 50th Anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th Anniversary of Social Security. The commitments made to support older adults in the President’s Budget are a fitting way to mark these anniversaries, and to help fulfill the promise of a better future for older Americans—and for all of us—that is inherent in these landmark pieces of legislation. 

Thank you for your interest in commenting on this blog. At this time, we are no longer accepting comments. If you are still interested in sharing your thoughts, please e-mail them to info@whaging.gov

Comments (16) -


There needs to be an overhaul of the current guardianship laws that rob senior citizens of their rights/assets and health. The system has turned into a billion dollars business that is full of corruption! It is tearing families apart. There is no one monitoring the Judges/attorneys and guardians in this sick probate guardianship!

This appears to be an after-the-fact effort to explain why President Obama did not mention issues affecting older Americans in his State of the Union address.I hope the White House Conference on Aging will not be a public relations event but an honest effort to address real issues facing older Americans, including epidemic and unaddressed age discrimination in the workplace that catapults millions of Americans into an impoverished retirement every year -  Patricia G. Barnes, author of Betrayed: The Legalization of Age Discrimination in the Workplace.

With people living longer and healthier I believe that we need a stronger focus on work opportunities. My husband was healthy and still wanted to work at 62, but could not find employers willing to hire. He was finally forced to retire and collect his social security to help with finances. That ultimately has also had an impact on his health (no longer regularly physically active from working) and his self-worth (loss of personal value). If we can live longer, we can work longer, but the system is broken when it comes to supporting older workers. He would rather work than collect SS and I think the government would rather he did, too.

It is time to address ageism in this country and how it negatively impacts mature adults from remaining productive and self reliant individuals.  Let's recognize and promote opportunities for aging Baby Boomers to act as consultants, mentors or part time employees within businesses and contribute to local communities through more than just volunteer status.  We have the wisdom, experience, skills and resilience necessary to make this a better world for many years to come!  Businesses need to embrace what we can offer to enhance their productivity and mentor/ model strong work ethics for those just entering the workplace. Let's get this done!   Maybe we provide incentives for businesses that hire and/or maintain their older adult workers .......
thoughts? suggestons?   If you work for a company that rejects ageism tactics, please enlighten us!

I totally agree. I am in this predidctment now. I am able, willing and capable to work and was forced out of my job by a supervisior. I will explain in more detail if I can get your number.

"The Budget also includes a comprehensive long-term care pilot for up to five States to test, at an enhanced Federal match rate, a more streamlined approach to delivering long-term care services and supports to support greater access and improve quality of care." Does anyone know the specific terms and outlines of this pilot? Is it coordinated with any of the other initiatives with similar focus? Thank you.


As I review the information including the: Long Term Care Coverage, that the President addresses, This
coverage may/may not always be available when you need it. My experience with a "Federal Long
Term Care" was not available when I needed it after I had paid on this policy for around seven (7) years.

This company even had me evaluated twice and still refused to pay. When I filed my complaint, they still
did not pay.

It's good to read that the government is taking better care of the their parents.  It's been a disgraceful and embarrassing plight for far too long.  The elderly need MORE help--not less, as been proposed administration after administration.  Thank you for respecting parents and for recognizing that the eldering population needs assistance--lots of assistance.  Precision medicine is a HUGE step in the right direction for everyone.  Now we need to greatly decrease their stress levels by helping them to manage their health, and lives, in their later years.  Comfort and support are paramount for an aging person. Thank you to all of the Obama administration for addressing this wonderful initiative!

Excellent that this is coming into focus more and more now because there is a huge population out there of elderly people and they are very important with all their knowledge and experience not to mention all the taxes they have paid while working before retirement.  They are a valuable asset and should be treated with respect and also their cost of living rents, groceries should be alot lower and there should be separate tills at supermarkets to serve them for their purchases - in fact there should be separate markets for them.  They should pay alot less for parking and when they go out in any social setting as well.  I am so glad you are looking at costs of their medicines and upgrading the health - part of it is creating an open forum for them to share their knowledge among the younger communities out there.  There is so much to be done and education in the young should include teaching them about the aging process in the human body as well.  

Wouldn't each of these proposed areas have been enhanced with a touch of reality I call TRANSPORTATION.....without accessible reliable, affordable transportation those who cannot drive for whatever reason are forced to give up their independence, and if you live alone, which many do....you can become isolated, depressed and ignored. TRANSPORTATION is the topic of too many "feel good discussion," reports, politicians and, yes, decision making agencies. It is the glue and the link to all the others.

hear, hear! I completely agree.

As a caregiver who has sat down with many elders in assisted living facilities, I have heard tale after tale of all that an entire life's worth of hard work amounting too being sold off in order to afford the price gauged rent and services at these corporate senior care facilities. Knowing what the price of rent and care are and how much the employees are making is alarming. There are always less caregivers staffed on a shift than there should be, because of budget cost, thus forcing the caregivers to answer all calls for assistance as quickly as they can with the amount of coworkers available, leaving people waiting sometimes to long for things like wanting to go to the toilet or even falling and breaking a hip. It drives me to tears constantly, as well as my fellow caregivers. Yet these corporate entities continue buying out private businesses, driving down budgets and cutting corners with everything. What we need is another approach to long term care, limitations and regulations on corporations for rent cost and full coverage for assistance, no more three tiered care system based on income capacity. We need smaller expected ratios of caregiver to residents, and we need to make medicare available based on need and not income. I love working with and for the elderly, but it sickens me to see how the elderly are cared for in this great country. It is time for reformation and reconstruction!

I just went through the process of drawing my first social security benefits as I am now 66 years old only to find that the formula for deciding what you get paid has changed from being based on the best 10 years of your life to the best 35 years of your life.  As we all know 35 years ago women were not being paid very well so of course this dropped my monthly payments close to $300 a month....just enough to force me to sell my home and take the money to be invested so I could have another income source on top of what I had already planned for.    I would write to my congressman or senator but I'm pretty sure they are the people who decided to change the formula by voting it into law.

Thank you all so much for sharing your comments. We appreciate the input and will take them into consideration as we move forward with planning the 2105 White House Conference on Aging.

What happened to the Protect Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) and why isn't it part of this great Conference on Aging?

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