Senate Unanimously Approves OAA Reauthorization Bill

Thursday, July 30, 2015

On July 16, the Senate unanimously passed the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015 (S. 192). LSA strongly supports this bipartisan measure, which includes modest changes to key Older Americans Act (OAA) programs, updates important definitions, and makes thoughtful adjustments designed to reflect the realities facing current and future seniors. Importantly, S. 192 includes a bipartisan agreement on the legislation’s funding formula. This issue stymied the reauthorization process during the previous Congress, and we are pleased to see it resolved. 

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 Senate passage of S. 192, LSA President and CEO Charlotte Haberaecker said:

"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. As trusted community-based service providers, our members greatly value the OAA - from the programs it authorizes to the people it serves and the infrastructure it creates. We support efforts to strengthen and sustain the Act, and applaud the Senate’s commitment to a bipartisan reauthorization process that achieves these goals. We encourage the House of Representatives to build upon the momentum of the Senate’s unanimous support for S. 192 by swiftly bringing it to the House floor for consideration.  Final passage this month – during which we celebrate 50 years of the OAA – would appropriately honor the Act’s legacy and successes, while reaffirming lawmakers' dedication to improving the lives of America's seniors. We look forward to working with Members of the House and the President to see OAA reauthorization signed into law."

Earlier this year, LSA endorsed S. 192. With Senate passage complete, attention now turns to the House. LSA and other advocates will be urging the lower chamber to quickly follow the Senate's lead by reauthorizing the OAA in a bipartisan way that ensures the health, dignity, and independence of the over 12 million older adults it serves each year. For more information, please contact LSA's Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Lindsey Copeland at lcopeland@lutheranservices.org or 202-499-5832.

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