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Illinois Advocacy Update
Just in time for Black History Month, AARP and other advocates just released a new report, Disrupt Disparities, which focuses on the issues of economic security, health, and digital connectivity for older adults of color across Illinois. The report outlines disparities faced by this specific population and makes a series of policy recommendations to remedy these challenges.
This report and policy recommendations are part of a multiyear effort to create systemic policy changes on behalf of older adults of color in Illinois. The goal is to move the needle in Illinois so that older adults across communities can age with the economic, health and digital resources they need to lead healthy, stable and rewarding lives.
A few highlights about Illinois older adults from the report:
A few policy recommendations from the report:
The Disrupt Disparities Report contains many more insights and recommendations. View the full report here.
Federal Legislative Update
Despite the cold and snow blanketing our own state, things were heating up in Washington this week. The House was advancing several COVID–relief proposals, including the House Education and Labor bill which includes $1.44 billion in emergency funding for Older Americans Act (OAA) programs and services. This proposal includes:
The first item is a particularly noteworthy victory, as it reflects the aging network’s efforts to play a critical role in helping older adults get vaccinated. It also addresses our legislative priority to address the increased incidence of social isolation and loneliness during the pandemic.
Another proposal to increase the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for Home and Community Based Services is also in the works in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This includes a 7.35 percent increase for one year, which can be used to support the caregiving workforce, reduce waiting lists, provide PPE/supplies, and more.
What Happens Next?
Ultimately, these two measures will be merged with several other pieces of legislation from other committees to form one massive COVID-19 relief and recovery bill.
The House will still have to pass the full reconciliation bill later this month, so we cannot rest on our laurels just because Older Americans Act funding is in the draft bill. The Senate will then take up the House measure but Senators are likely to amend the bill, so please stay closely tuned to our updates and speak out!
If you haven’t yet weighed in with your Federal Representatives and Senators about the urgent need for Older Americans Act emergency funds, it is not too late. Click here to use our advocacy tools and take action now!
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