With renewed calls for bipartisan collaboration supporting high-quality, person-centered, and affordable health coverage for us all as we age, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) this week reached out to leaders from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to reinforce core priorities "that matter to the millions of older adults and caregivers who we serve in the clinic--and who you serve in Congress."
"Like other leaders in the stakeholder community, we agree that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) can be improved. We agree that Congress must develop bipartisan proposals in sufficient detail so that all Americans have the opportunity to make informed decisions about a better health system. Previously considered proposals would have increased costs, reduced health coverage, and cut key services for millions of Americans -- including many older men and women who rely on Medicaid for long-term care services and supports...We are hopeful that renewed calls for collaboration across both aisles of Congress open a door for you and your colleagues to find ways to strengthen the nation's healthcare system. We encourage you to invite stakeholder input, to hold public hearings, and to provide ample opportunity for feedback from the American public regarding policy proposals that can build on gains made under the ACA."
Doing so, AGS experts observed, would help build state and federal policies equipped to:
- Expand older adults' healthcare options to include in-home and other care that enable us to live independently as long as possible; help older adults and caregivers better understand healthcare needs and make the most of Medicare and other benefits; and provide caregivers with adequate resources and support.
- Ensure that value-based purchasing and other quality initiatives take into account the unique healthcare needs of all older people.
- Strengthen primary and preventive care and care coordination.
- Address the acute and growing nationwide shortage of geriatricians (physicians with advanced training in the care of older people) and all geriatrics healthcare professionals; and ensure that other healthcare providers have training that prepares them to meet the unique healthcare needs of older people.
- Step-up research concerning healthy aging, the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of age-related health problems, and the cost-effectiveness of various approaches to care; and ensure that older adults are adequately represented in research trials.
In continuing to oppose changes that could detract from care, increase health costs, or reduce access to necessary services for older adults and people with disabilities, AGS experts continued to offer support and expertise focused on "the core principle that all Americans should have access to high-quality, affordable health care -- especially care that supports our independence as we age."
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has -- for 75 years -- worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.