LeadingAge Calls on Biden-Harris Administration to Make 2021 "A New Beginning" For Older Americans

PRESS RELEASE | December 08, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders

Detailed Action Plan Lays Out Dozens of Actions for 30 Days, 100 Days, and First Year

Contact: Lisa Sanders
lsanders@leadingage.org 202-508-9407

December 8, 2020, Washington, DC—On behalf of more than 5,000 nonprofit aging-focused care providers, LeadingAge laid out its near term agenda for the new administration in a letter to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris.

The agenda focuses on fighting COVID, ensuring access to long-term services and supports, and improving access to affordable housing that is connected to aging services. It outlines nearly four dozen actions that the new administration should take in its first 30 days,100 days, and first year.

“2021 should be a new beginning for older Americans,” said Katie Smith Sloan. “LeadingAge has presented an action plan for the incoming Administration to take on COVID-19 and make our country a better place for millions of Americans to grow old.”

The letter spells out actions that could be taken to achieve each goal:

Fight COVID and its devastating impact on older people by fortifying aging services to keep older adults and their surrounding communities healthy and safe.

  • Recommendations during the first 30 days include invoking the Defense Production Act to help fill PPE gaps; working with Congress to fill immediate PPE, testing, and staffing needs; working with governors to minimize community spread in every state, and simplifying PPP loan forgiveness processes for not-for-profit aging services providers.
  • Recommendations during the first 100 days include a national testing program for all essential aging services workers with rapid turnaround of results, creating an interagency effort to support mental health in a COVID-19 and post-COVID era, establishing a long-term care workforce commission, and reducing duplicative reporting requirements that have hindered nursing homes from focusing more attention on resident care.
  • Recommendations during the first year include working with Congress to ensure that not-for-profit aging services providers of all sizes have access to future PPP loans, and establishing an interagency task force to develop options for long-term care reform, including financing.

Ensure older adults get the health and long-term care they need, including preservation of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid.

  • Recommendations during the first 30 days include working with states to reverse Medicaid work requirements and block grant/per capita cap waivers for the duration of the pandemic, if not permanently; broadening access to telehealth services, and ensuring that people in home and community-based services have access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines.
  • Recommendations during the first 100 days include stronger investment in post-acute care, long-term services, and end-of-life supports, working with Congress to include more Medicaid funding within COVID-19 relief packages, and consideration of making permanent certain emergency waivers of Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid funding requirements.
  • Recommendations during the first year include working with Congress to support community-based services for older Americans, streamlining and harmonizing regulations across multiple programs, and testing new delivery and payment models for post-acute care and long-term services and supports.

Ensure older adults have access to affordable housing connected to aging care services.

  • Recommendations during the first 30 days include new COVID-19 relief (and expedited processing) for affordable senior housing providers, release of remaining CARES Act funds for affordable senior housing providers, extending eviction moratoriums, permitting the use of COVID-19 relief funds to provide internet access in multifamily apartments, and restoring federal rules to provide equal access for people who might be discriminated against based on their gender identity.​​​​​​​
  • Recommendations during the first 100 days include providing for very low-income older adults in HUD’s FY22 budget request, ensuring that older renters are served by HUD’s home modification program set-aside program, and reinstating an interagency risk-sharing partnership to support multifamily housing.
  • Recommendations during the first year include more funding support for Section 202 housing in the HUD budget, greater use of Medicare and Medicaid funds to promote the health of older adults in senior housing, and increased assistance for renters and homeowners.
About LeadingAge:

We represent more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we address critical issues by blending applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building. We bring together the most inventive minds in our field to support older adults as they age wherever they call home. We make America a better place to grow old. For more information: www.leadingage.org