Thursday, April 13, 2023

Over the next few months, temperatures will rise. And we’re not just talking about the weather. Budget negotiations both here at home in Springfield, and in the nation’s capital are heating up. In DC, as we head into debt ceiling negotiations and discussions about deficits and government spending, neither party seems interested in cutting Social Security, Medicare, or defense spending. That means that any trimming of the budget will need to come from discretionary spending, which makes up a measly 14% of the US budget. Older Americans Act services fall into the discretionary budget.  

Proposed Federal Budget for FY 2024  

In March, President Biden presented his FY 2024 budget blueprint to Congress. The $6.8 trillion budget includes major investments in Medicaid Home and Community Based Services to expand access to services and address workforce issues. The President’s discretionary appropriations recommendations for aging services include significant increases for Older Americans Act (OAA) Title III B Supportive Services and Title III E National Family Caregiver Support Program. 

If approved, the budget proposal would make an estimated 2 million additional adults eligible for health insurance coverage in states that have opted not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Among the Medicare improvements are continued reductions in Medicare prescription drug costs and an extension of the Medicare Part A Trust Fund solvency by an estimated 25 years. 

“Let’s be clear about another key point of my budget. I guarantee I will protect Social Security and Medicare without any change,” Biden said during a news conference unveiling his budget proposal. “It will secure Medicare through 2050 and beyond, ensuring that the vital program keeps going strong for a generation without cutting a single penny in benefits.” 

Not all programs affecting older adults fared as well, however. Some programs administered by the U.S. Administration for Community Living saw little to no increases for OAA Title III D Evidence-Based Health and Wellness programs or the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. 

Key Older Americans Act (OAA) program funding in the President’s budget: 

  • A 22 percent increase ($90 million) for Supportive Services 
  • An increase of $45 million, for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (a 20 percent increase over the current fiscal year, to a total of $250 million).
  • A 20 percent increase overall for Nutrition services. The bulk of the $217 million would go toward boosting congregate meals. 
  • A small increase of just a few thousand above the current funding level for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program ($27 million). 
  • Double funding over last year for Elder Rights, including Adult Protective Services. 
  • A slight $60,000 increase over current levels for Evidence-Based Health and Wellness programs 

Next Steps 

The President’s budget proposal is just that – a proposal. It is now up to Congressional appropriators to negotiate the final details. The Republicans haven’t released their counter to the president’s budget yet (possibly in June). In any case, it’s likely that FY24 negotiations will be challenging due to the concessions made by Speaker McCarthy who promised to consider each of the 12 annual appropriations bills individually, which hasn’t been done successfully in decades. There’s a real possibility of a government shutdown and a national debt default this year. AgeGuide and its funded partners will continue to advocate for increased Older Americans Act funding in the FY24 budget to sustain services for a growing aging population. 

Proposed State Budget for FY 2024 

Source: Illinois Department on Aging, State Budget Fiscal Year 2024. 

Governor Pritzker released his FY24 Illinois budget priorities in February. Under the proposed budget, the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) would receive a 4% decrease over FY23. This is a result of a 39% federal decrease for IDoA due to the conclusion of Fiscal Recovery Funding flexibility. However, the federal decrease is significantly offset by other state funding increases. 

The Governor’s proposed FY24 budget includes for following funding levels for aging services through the Illinois Department on Aging:  

  • $27.4 million increase for expansion of the Community Care Program to accommodate caseload growth and utilization as well as a rate increase for in-home providers. 
  • Increased rate for in-home care workers from $25.66 to $26.92, which would be a $49.5 million investment of state funds. 
  • $1.3 million to assist with gaps in senior service access throughout the State of Illinois.  
  • An additional $1.3 million to support last year’s investment of $4 million to enhance support services for unpaid family caregivers.  
  • $1.2 million to expand outreach efforts in targeted communities to better reach and serve Illinois’ growing population of historically marginalized older adults.
  • An increase of $8 million in state funds for home-delivered meals. 

For more information, please click on the link below:  

Health and Human Services FY24 Budget Presentation 

Best Way to Beat the Heat 

Budget negotiators in Springfield and DC need to hear from you about the importance of Older Americans Act service. One significant thing you can do is complete our action alert. Join AgeGuide in advocating for caregivers and older adults in Illinois.  

Click here to send a letter to your Illinois state and federal legislators!  


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