Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Tax Reform Efforts Must Not Lead to Spending Cuts that Harm Older Adults and Caregivers

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Statement by W. Mark Clark, President & CEO
Tax Reform Efforts Must Not Lead to Spending Cuts that Harm Older Adults and Caregivers

Tax reform proposals being considered by Congress would dramatically increase the long-term federal deficit and debt, and would pave the way for massive spending cuts to health care, social insurance, and social safety-net programs that serve millions of vulnerable older adults and caregivers nationwide.

Pima Council on Aging is the Area Agency on Aging serving Pima County since 1967. Among our roles as the Area Agency on Aging is an imperative to advocate for the rights, needs, and best interests of older adults and their families.

Pima Council on Aging is deeply concerned about any tax reform proposals that fails to recognize the fiscal realities of the aging of our nation, and would undermine the critical programs and supports necessary to ensure the safety and security of Pima County’s older adults, caregivers, and their families. Nationally, 10,000 Baby Boomers are hitting retirement age every day, and here in Pima County the population of those 60 and older grew at a rate of 17.5% in just five years – far outpacing the overall County growth of just 3% for the same period. Given the tremendous demographic shift happening now, and expected to continue into the next few decades, we strongly believe that cuts to programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are short-sighted and would endanger and harm older adults.

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, current proposals under consideration in the House and the Senate would increase the national deficit by $1.5 trillion and allow lawmakers, in the near future, to slash spending for federal non-defense discretionary programs, including critical aging and disability programs, by $800 billion; reduce Medicare by $473 billion; and slash Medicaid by more than $1 trillion, all over ten years.

In addition to driving up the deficit, PCOA is also concerned that these tax reform proposals would disproportionately disadvantage middle and-low-income seniors—nearly half of whom have annual income of $25,000 or less.

Instead, PCOA urges lawmakers to participate in a bipartisan, transparent, thoughtful and balanced approach to the federal budgeting process that realistically addresses the health and long-term care needs of the country’s growing older adult population.

“We join our national partners in the aging network in our strong concern about the current Congressional efforts at tax reform. While such reform is a laudable goal, the legislation passed by the House of Representative and under consideration by the Senate will have the effect of imperiling the health and economic future of many Americans, especially low income older adults and those who care for them. The legislation as passed and proposed will drive up the federal deficit which will certainly lead to calls for cuts to federal spending on health care, social insurance and vital social services. In fact, the tax cuts are proposed to be paid for by such spending cuts. Each of us should reach out to our Members of Congress and Senators to let them know how we feel about these major legislative changes,” Mr. Clark said in a statement.

Advocacy Matters

Friday, July 28th, 2017

As we woke up to read the news this morning, many were surprised by the 49-51 vote that ended – at least for the time being – the Senate’s ambition of passing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Though we are grateful to the Senators who voted against the measure – especially Senator McCain, Senator Collins, and Senator Murkowski – we are more grateful for you.

Because of your dedicated advocacy and passion for older people and people with physical disabilities, we were able to send hundreds of letters, phone calls, emails, and faxes to Senators McCain and Flake.  Your courage in sharing your stories and struggles so others can live with the security of health coverage as they age is admirable.  Thank you for your advocacy and dedication.

In the coming months we will work together with Representatives and Senators from both sides of the aisle to protect vital aging services that are at risk in the Presidential budget.  Medicaid is still a very real concern since the Presidential Budget proposal suggested that Congress cut Medicaid funding by 22%. PCOA is concerned about the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) – PCOA’s Medicare Counseling program- which was proposed to be eliminated under the President’s budget.  We need your continued advocacy and support to protect things like the Social Services Block Grant and Community Development Block Grant that help thousands of people in southern Arizona get the help they need to live independently and with dignity as they age.

Today is a day to appreciate your success and hard work.  Joining together with concerned citizens and advocates, we were able to halt the dangerous cuts and caps to Medicaid proposed by the Better Care Reconciliation Act and the American Health Care Act.  Tomorrow we will continue to fight for a budget that secures aging services for thousands of southern Arizonans.

On behalf of all of us at PCOA, thank you for your advocacy.

With sincerest gratitude,

W. Mark Clark

President and CEO