House Approves Older Americans Act Reauthorization Bill

Friday, March 25, 2016

On March 21, the US House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA).  The legislation slightly amends the OAA reauthorization measure (S. 192) adopted by the Senate in July 2015. LSA strongly supports both bills, which include modest changes to key OAA programs, update important definitions, and make thoughtful adjustments designed to reflect the realities facing current and future seniors. 

Since 1965, the OAA has been essential to developing, coordinating, and delivering home and community-based services that help vulnerable older adults age with dignity. Many individuals served by OAA programs are at a significant risk of hunger, isolation, and losing their ability to live independently. OAA services – such as home care, congregate and home-delivered meals, case management, caregiver support, transportation, and elder abuse prevention – are often all an older adult needs to stay healthy and in the community. By providing much-needed services that help seniors age in place, OAA programs improve health outcomes and promote efficiencies within the health care system by reducing readmission rates, improving care coordination, and managing care transitions. 

In a statement on House passage, LSA President and CEO Charlotte Haberaecker said:

"We support efforts to strengthen and sustain the OAA, and applaud the House's commitment to a bipartisan reauthorization process that achieves these goals. As one of the largest networks of health and human services providers in the country, LSA members help older adults live more independent, healthy, and secure lives every day. More than two-thirds of our members serve seniors, including through the OAA's critical home and community-based programs. We applaud the House's approval of this critical legislation, and look forward to working with Senate leadership and the President to see OAA reauthorization signed into law this year."

The two chambers must now reconcile the discrepancies between their bills, which could be achieved by Senate endorsement of the House-passed version. As a result of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral negotiations, the Senate appears poised to do so as early as this Spring.  For more information, please contact LSA's Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Lindsey Copeland at lcopeland@lutheranservices.org or 202-499-5832. Read more about OAA reauthorization and LSA's position.

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