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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

July 17, 2012

House Republicans Vote to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

Just two weeks after the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality was upheld in a 5-4 Supreme Court opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, Republicans pushed another bill through the House last Wednesday to repeal the health law. The vote was 244-185, with five Democratic defectors siding with Republicans. The vote was the 33rd time in 18 months that the GOP majority has tried to eliminate, defund or scale back the program. 

If the Affordable Care Act were to be repealed, it would take away provisions that benefit long-term care consumers such as nursing home transparency, the Elder Justice Act, Community First Choice, and The CLASS Act. The repeal would also take away provisions that guarantee coverage for children with pre-existing medical conditions, reduce prescription drug costs for some seniors, provide for protecting checks for patients of all ages, and ensure rebates totaling more than $1 billion this summer for policy holders. 

There was never any doubt that Republicans had the votes to pass the repeal in the House last Wednesday. There is also no doubt that the repeal will die in the Senate, where Democrats possess more than enough strength to block it.

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National Memory Screening Day is November 13

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is supporting National Memory Screening Day on November 13, an annual initiative of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in which qualified healthcare professionals at local sites nationwide provide free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials to the public. The face-to-face screening is administered by a qualified healthcare professional (e.g., physicians, psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, pharmacists); consists of a series of questions and tasks; and takes about five to ten minutes. Screening sites include Alzheimer’s agencies, assisted living residences, long-term care facilities, doctors’ offices, hospitals, senior centers, YMCAs, libraries, pharmacies and other community venues. The screening results do not represent a diagnosis; individuals with below-normal scores or those who still have concerns are encouraged to pursue further medical evaluation. To sign up as a screening site or for more information, visit www.nationalmemoryscreening.org or call 866-AFA-8484.

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White House Hosted Community Leaders Briefing on Senior Issues

On July 16th, 2012, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, the White House hosted a Community Leaders Briefing on Senior Issues that the Consumer Voice was pleased to have the opportunity to attend. The briefing , which focused on the importance of preserving and protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, highlighted the negative impacts the Republican budget proposal (drafted largely in part by Chairman Paul Ryan of the House Budget Committee, and commonly referred to as the ‘Ryan budget’) would have on current and future beneficiaries of these programs. Speakers such as Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator of the Administration for Community Living, and Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, touched on the important and valuable role of advocates in fighting for the preservation of these integral programs as Congressional debate over the budget continues.

During the briefing, the Consumer Voice was able to ask Assistant Secretary Greenlee to share her thoughts on how to improve consumer access to long-term services and supports. In her response, Assistant Secretary Greenlee emphasized the importance of improving long-term care education amongst younger and middle-aged Americans, who have likely not begun to consider how they will finance potential long-term care needs in the future. Additionally, she recognized the central role state and local long-term care ombudsmen play in improving long-term care access and noted the need for the federal government to continue to properly fund and assist long-term care ombudsman programs. Vice President Joe Biden issued closing remarks for the briefing, where he stressed how family members providing love and support to seniors are intrinsically tied to these issues as well. The Vice President also spoke of the integral role Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security play in preserving the dignity and respect of seniors and how any shortsighted cuts made to these programs would undoubtedly devastate their quality of life.

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About The Gazette

The Gazette is a weekly e-newsletter, published by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. If you do not wish to continue receiving this publication, please unsubscribe. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to swells@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2011.

The Consumer Voice is the leading national voice representing consumers in issues related to long-term care, helping to ensure that consumers are empowered to advocate for themselves. We are a primary source of information and tools for consumers, families, caregivers, advocates and ombudsmen to help ensure quality care for the individual. The Consumer Voice's mission is to represent consumers at the national level for quality long-term care, services and supports.

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