Two new articles in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society address what the new leadership in the White House and continued Republican leadership of both houses of Congress can do to ensure that Americans continue to receive the care they need as they age.
One article outlines some of the potential areas of change that are most salient to the care of older adults. These include possible changes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Health Savings Accounts, Medicaid, and other programs. The authors stress that certain tenets should serve as guideposts for evaluating and responding to change. They note that care must be person-centered and reflect the preferences of those receiving care, that changes to health care payments and delivery should be evidence-based, and that the workforce of geriatric professionals must be expanded. In addition, the authors note that it will be critical to remember that the health of the population across all age groups has important implications for the health of older adults.
"In the haste to tear down the ACA, the new administration may cast aside great gains that have been made in not only making care accessible to many, but beginning the process of reconceptualizing care," said lead author Robert Kane, MD, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "As geriatricians know all too well, effectively addressing chronic care, especially complex problems that involve both medical and social aspects, requires a more comprehensive approach to care that is incompatible for fee-for-service payment."
Another paper highlights the American Geriatrics Society's (AGS's) core policy priorities and positions on federal programs that support older Americans, as articulated in a three recent letters sent to then President-Elect Trump and Senate and House leaders. The letters address everything from Medicare, Medicaid, and healthcare reform to the Veterans Health Administration and commitments to the geriatrics workforce under Title VII and VIII. Supporting these and other components of high-quality care can ensure that more older Americans are able to make meaningful contributions to their communities, as the AGS priorities suggest.
"We focused on programs that are critical to the clinical care of older Americans and their families, and on ensuring we have a workforce with the skills and competence to care for us all as we age. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress on solutions that will achieve our vision for a future when every older American receives high- quality, person- centered care," said Nancy Lundebjerg, MPA, lead author of the article and Chief Executive Officer of the AGS.