Here’s what we’re watching in Washington:
New Limited Eviction Moratorium & HUD Funding for Legal Services Providers
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a limited eviction moratorium for renters living in communities experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The new moratorium began on August 3 and protects renters for up to two months, through October 3. It is estimated that 90% of all renters will be covered due to the current COVID-19 surges. The CDC’s tracker shows which counties are experiencing a substantial or high rate of transmission. This moratorium allows more time for states and localities to distribute emergency rental assistance, including to renters who have already been evicted.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced the FY 2021 Eviction Protection Grant Program to support experienced legal service providers, not limited to legal service corporations, in providing legal assistance at no cost to low-income tenants at risk of or subject to eviction. Learn more about the funding opportunity on HUD’s website.
Negotiations on Recovery Package Continue
Last week, the Senate voted to move forward on a bipartisan physical infrastructure package, while negotiations continue on the size and contents of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package. Although funding for Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) and the expansion of Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing benefits remain priorities, the funding and comprehensiveness of these policies is at risk of being cut. Advocacy also continues to ensure lawmakers include long-overdue improvements to Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Contact your Congress members and tell them low-income older adults need the full $400 billion for the Better Care Better Jobs Act, funding to modernize SSI, and Medicare coverage of dental, vision, and hearing.
New Research Shows Disparities in Access to Community Living Supports for Older Adults
A new AP-NORC study found differences in access to health care and services that support older adults in their communities by age, race and ethnicity, income, and urbanicity. For example, 52% of white people say their community does a good job providing access to health care for older adults, compared to only 37% of people of color. Regarding access to good in-home services and supports, white people are also more likely than people of color to say they have access: 37% to 27%. However, over a third of all respondents were unsure about access to home health aides.
This research showing uncertainty and gaps in access to good care and services, especially among people of color, underscores the need to invest in our Medicaid home- and community-based services (HCBS). The Better Care Better Jobs Act would provide over 3 million more older adults and people with disabilities with access to HCBS and would improve the quality of services by expanding and strengthening the direct care workforce.
Missouri Supreme Court Says Medicaid Expansion Can Be Implemented
On July 22, the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously upheld the state’s Medicaid expansion. Earlier this year, Missouri’s state legislature blocked implementation of the ballot-approved Medicaid expansion. The Supreme Court’s decision opens Medicaid coverage to 127,000 low-income adults who are currently uninsured. A disproportionate share of these individuals in the coverage gap are people of color.
New Justice in Aging Resources
• Better Care Better Jobs Act HCBS Social Media Toolkit (7/28)
• Fact Sheet: Why Older Adults Need Bold Investment in Medicaid HCBS (7/21)
Better Care Better Jobs Act: What Grassroots Need to Know (7/28)
New from the National Center on Law & Elder Rights (NCLER)
On August 19th, NCLER will host a webinar on An Advocate’s Guide to Appealing Prescription Drug Denials. The Medicare Rights Center will share strategies for how to help beneficiaries through the Part D appeals process. The ability to successfully navigate these appeals is vital to ensuring affordable access to prescription medications for millions of beneficiaries. Learn more and register on the NCLER website.
New & Updated Federal Resources
• 2021 Marketplace Special Enrollment Period State-by-State Premium Savings for Returning Consumers from the American Rescue Plan (8/4)
• Senate Aging Committee Frequently Asked Questions on Better Care Better Jobs Act (8/3)
• ACL Policy Update: What the Changes in the “Public Charge” Immigration Rule Mean for the Aging and Disability Networks (7/30)
• Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Among Health Care Personnel Working in Long-Term Care Facilities, by Job Category, National Healthcare Safety Network — United States, March 2021 (7/30)
• HHS Office of Minority Health Request for Information: Best Practices for Advancing Cultural Competency, Language Access and Sensitivity toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (comment period closes 8/17)
Other New Resources
• Ten Ways the “Better Care Better Jobs Act” Helps Older Adults & People with Disabilities, National Health Law Program
• Medicare and Dental Coverage: A Closer Look, Kaiser Family Foundation
• COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Long-Term Care Facilities through June 2021, Kaiser Family Foundation
Stay up-to-date on Justice in Aging’s COVID-19 Resources for Advocates Serving Older Adults webpage. Office Schedule Announcement: August 9-13
Next week (August 9-13) Justice in Aging is observing “Recharge Week.” Throughout recharge week, staff will be taking a break from email and external meetings in order to recharge and reset. We will be back to our regular schedule and engagement the week of August 16. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Share This Contact Us Justice in Aging
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