The 2016 federal budget proposed Feb. 2 by President Barack Obama aligns with the focus areas for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging—namely, retirement security, healthful aging, long-term services and supports (LTSS) and elder justice—said Nora Super, executive director of the conference on Aging, in a Feb. 3 blog post. The budget, she said:
- Closes the Medicare Part D “donut hole” for brand pharmaceuticals by 2017 instead of 2020;
- Earmarks more than $874 million for nutrition programs, a $60 million increase over the amount enacted for 2015, which Super says will provide 208 million meals to more than two million older Americans;
- Helps to provide supportive housing for very low-income elderly households, including the frail elderly;
- Expands access to Medicaid home- and community-based LTSS through simplified eligibility, expansion of the “Money Follows the Person” rebalancing demonstration project, a pilot for up to five states to test a streamlined approach to LTSS delivery, increased discretionary resources for the Aging and Disability Resource Centers program, and a new Family Support Initiative to assist family caregivers;
- Includes $25 million in discretionary resources for Elder Justice Act programs authorized under the Affordable Care Act.
“2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security,” Super wrote. “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.”