Legislative News…Daniel North and Claudia Schoff

AARP has a voter engagement campaign titled “Be the Difference. Vote”. If you haven’t already, please commit to voting on November 6th by signing our voters’ pledge and visit

https://action.aarp.org/site/SPageNavigator/2018_Voter_Pledge.html. We want to raise the voice and share the importance of the 50+ voter. We want voters to ask important questions to the candidates around issues impacting the 50+ community.

Before you cast your vote on Nov. 6, make sure you know where candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate and presidency stand on these three issues:

  1. How would you protect Social Security for today’s seniors and strengthen it for future generations?
  2. How would you put Medicare on stronger financial ground and protect today’s seniors and future retirees from the

    burden of rising health costs?

  3. How would you help Americans build a financial nest egg for their retirement?

Know your candidates! Candidates’ Websites:

Governor
Gavin Newsom (D) – http://www.gavinnewsom.com

John Cox (R) – http://johncoxforgovernor.com

Lt. Gov.
Edward Hernandez (D) – https://www.edhernandez4ca.com/

Eleni Kounalakis (D) – http://www.eleniforca.com

Senate
Dianne Feinstein (D) – https://feinsteinforca.com
Kevin de León (D) – https://www.kevindeleon.com

House
District 14
Cristina Osmeña (R) – https://www.osmenaforcongress.com/

Jackie Speier (D) – http://jackieforcongress.com/
District 15
Eric Swalwell (D) – http://www.swalwellforcongress.com

Rudy Peters (R) – https://www.rudypetersforcongress.com/
District 16
Elizabeth Heng (R) – https://elizabethheng.com/
Jim Costa (D) – http://www.jimcosta.com/
District 17
Ro Khanna (D) – http://www.rokhanna.com/
Ron Cohen (R) – http://www.roncohen4congress2018.com/
District 18
Anna Eshoo (D) – http://www.annaeshoo4congress.com/

Christine Russell (R) – No site
District 19
Justin Aguilera (R) – No site
Zoe Lofgren (D) – http://www.lofgrenforcongress.com

Don’t forget to pledge to vote on the AARP site and please vote! Make your voice heard.

Legislative News…Daniel North and Claudia Schott

The House Ways and Means Committee said it would continue exploring ways to reduce regulations in Medicare, after issuing a report last week on its conversations with health care providers. “The Medicare program has reached the threshold where the regulatory burdens placed on health care providers are now coming at the expense of patient care — we cannot allow this to continue,” Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam of Illinois said. Although light on specifics, the report highlighted areas where providers indicated they need more flexibility, including in anti-kickback laws, conditions of participation for hospitals, and administrative tasks such as billing and data reporting.

Of particular concern to both the committee and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the so-called Stark law, which limits how and when physicians can refer patients to other entities in which they share a financial interest. The law is widely considered outdated as the industry shifts to value-based care, which requires close financial relationships between various providers.

“The Committee’s work is not complete,” the Ways and Means report stated. “The health care landscape is constantly changing, which will require policymakers to continuously weigh the impacts to the provider community, and most important of all, the impact on patient care.”

Here’s hoping this easing of regulations happens soon enough that we may all get better and faster access to decent patient care!

Legislative Report … Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott

Now that the House has passed their version of the Farm Bill, it has quite a few stipulations that aren’t sitting well with anyone in the Senate……bipartisan negotiations fell apart in the House as Republicans embraced food stamp work requirements bitterly opposed by House Democrats and Senators. Under the controversial House food stamp plan, most adults would have to spend 20 hours per week either working or participating in a state-run training program to receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides an average payment of $125 per month to 42.3 million Americans. I wonder if this includes Senior Citizens….? It’s not like we aren’t already working and can’t make ends meet. So, if you don’t work, you don’t eat? What if you CAN’T work? (FYI, there already is a sensible program in place, helping people get training and finding work. It just doesn’t take food stamps away if we aren’t working.)
Now Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee are adding a different “work requirement” to SNAP. In fact, the legislation would deny food assistance to the unemployed. People who through no fault of their own could not find work, or enough hours of work, would become ineligible for the program. They would miss out not only on a paycheck but on food too.
“The things that they have in [the Farm Bill] are mostly to hassle people that are on SNAP. That’s really what it’s about,” Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said. House Democrats and Senators in both parties have vowed to vote against a plan some say will unfairly increase red tape for low-income Americans.
But House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said he would defend the provisions during conference committee negotiations, arguing it would be bad politics in an election year for lawmakers to oppose changes aimed at moving people into the workforce.
There is a sense of urgency here. Both versions of the Farm Bill need to be compromised on and renegotiated into one bill to pass both Houses by September. Then it still needs to go to the president to sign. If the new bill does not go into effect by September 30th, and the old law is not extended, a lot of programs will lose their funding, including SNAP. So right now we are all holding our collective breath: farmers, ranchers and food stamp recipients, while the good Representatives of our United States duke it out, street brawl style, most likely. It had already come to that when someone included the family separation controversy…As it stands right now, the two versions of the bill are so far apart in ideology, that any compromise is seemingly unattainable.

Legislative Report…Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott

With the budget deadline (June 15) fast approaching, AARP’s top priority budget request is on the line. The LTSS Data Collection and Analysis budget request, which would appropriate funds to the Department of Health Care Services for the purpose of contracting with UCLA for collection and analysis of data on LTSS access and needs in California by incorporating questions from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) in the 2019-20 and 2023-24 survey cycles. A portion of these costs can be covered by federal Medicaid matching funds.

We are being asked to contact our Assembly member or Senator to vote in favor of the LTSS Data Ask when it comes up for a vote during the week of June 11. If any of us have Assembly member Kalra as their Assembly member (San Jose) a simple thank you will do. He is the Assembly Sponsor of this budget request.

We talked about this in April. Because of the shifting demographic (more of us oldsters and persons with physical and developmental disabilities as well as those with traumatic injuries who are surviving longer due to advances in medical care.), California needs to collect this data so it can accurately assess our needs and budget accordingly.

As far as the Farm bill is concerned, we still have our work cut out on that. Congress did vote it down……this time. However certain members are planning on a new vote…..soooo, we need to call, write or email our Representatives and demand, ask, cajole, request, enjoin, urge, whatever it takes, in order for our SNAP program to stay in place!