Senior Services Take a Hit in Obama Budget

Mar 5 2014, 9:09pm CST | by

Federal senior services programs are in for another very difficult year. In the 2015 budget he released yesterday, President Obama proposed freezing or even cutting spending for many key programs. And Obama’s blueprint may be the highwater mark for many initiatives, which are likely to see even deeper cuts as the budget works its way through Congress. Key House Republicans have already signaled that several programs are on their chopping block.

Obama proposed to reduce overall funding for the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the federal office that oversees most–though not all–senior services programs. He’d trim the agency’s budget to $2.062 billion, about $35 million below last year’s spending level. The National Council on Aging has a nice table here describing the budget numbers.

Among key programs, the news ranged from it-could-be-worse to downright bad. Funding for home delivered nutrition programs such as Meals on Wheels, supportive services, family caregiver support, and feeding programs for people in congregant care would all be frozen at 2014 levels even though the aging population is growing rapidly. Serious budget wonks may remember that Congress increased 2014 spending levels when it reached its budget deal last fall and temporarily eased the sequester.

For programs outside of the ACL, the news is more mixed. Obama would slash funding for the popular The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) by nearly 20 percent to $2.8 billion. However, he’s proposing increases for Sec. 202 elderly housing and for housing counseling, including reverse mortgage counseling.

The White House would also continue funding for the Money Follows the Person demonstration program until 2020. This program is aimed at moving people from nursing homes back into their communities but has had limited success, especially for elders. In one important change, states could use funds to help people stay in their community, not just help them return after a nursing home stay.

The president would cut and restructure the Community Services Block Grant program, an important source of funding for local senior service initiatives. The program would be competitive so funding would go to the most successful agencies. However, Obama would only make about $350 million available, far less than the $650 million the program is getting this year.

Another program taking a big hit: The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) that helps prepare unemployed seniors to go back to work. Obama would slash funding from $434 million this year to $380 million in 2015. One bit of good news: He’s once again proposing to shift the program from the Labor department, where it is something of an orphan, to the ACL.

Obama’s budget also includes a range of premium increases for Medicare recipients. It would phase-in income-related premium hikes for Part B and D (drug benefits). Eventually, about one-quarter of beneficiaries would pay these higher premiums. It would boost copayments for brand name prescription drugs for those getting Part D low-income subsidies. It would require all new enrollees to pay higher Part B deductibles and higher premiums for the most generous Medicare supplement (Medigap) policies. New enrollees would have to make a copayment for Medicare home health (that’s Medicare post-acute care, not Medicaid long-term care). And many Medicare providers would be paid less.

Until Congress and the president break their impasse over raising taxes and fundamentally restructuring costly entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, there is no chance that spending for federal senior services will increase. The money just won’t be there.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Self-regulation skills prepare children for school
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) Efforts to utilise music and games to help pre-schoolers learn self-regulation skills could help prepare at-risk children for kindergarten education, a new study says.
 
 
Anti-HIV drugs can affect unborn babies' hearts
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) The drugs given to HIV-positive pregnant women can cause significant long-term heart problems for the non-HIV-infected babies they carry, says a new study.
 
 
Sound training helps brain keep distractions at bay
New York, Nov 23 (IANS) The ability to sustain focus on a goal goes down with age but researchers, including of an Indian-origin, have discovered that with the help of a sound training, even the elderly can learn to ignore distractions.
 
 
New radiation device to strengthen public security
New York, Nov 23 (IANS) A new compact radiation device that can be operated in room temperature can significantly improve public security by detecting explosives, chemical agents and dangerous biological substances from safe distances, says a study.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Self-regulation skills prepare children for school
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) Efforts to utilise music and games to help pre-schoolers learn self-regulation skills could help prepare at-risk children for kindergarten education, a new study says. The intervention was...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Anti-HIV drugs can affect unborn babies' hearts
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) The drugs given to HIV-positive pregnant women can cause significant long-term heart problems for the non-HIV-infected babies they carry, says a new study. Such medicines help prevent the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Sound training helps brain keep distractions at bay
New York, Nov 23 (IANS) The ability to sustain focus on a goal goes down with age but researchers, including of an Indian-origin, have discovered that with the help of a sound training, even the elderly can learn to...
Read more on Business Balla
 
New radiation device to strengthen public security
New York, Nov 23 (IANS) A new compact radiation device that can be operated in room temperature can significantly improve public security by detecting explosives, chemical agents and dangerous biological substances...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Trinidad takes India's support to improve water, sewerage system
Port-of-Spain, Nov 23 (IANS) India's High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, Gauri Shankar Gupta announced that a team of technical officials from the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) will visit India next month...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Office Depot ready for Black Friday
Office Depot is looking to cash in on laptops and tablets for the upcoming 2014 version of the Black Friday selling holiday. Office Depot plans on offering huge deals on several name brand computers. The company says...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Amazon set for Black Friday
Black Friday does not officially kick off until November 28th but one company who is taking a different approach to the holiday selling bonaza is Amazon. The company announced this week that their Black Friday specials...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
39 injured as earthquake hits Japan
Tokyo, Nov 23 (IANS) At least 39 people were injured after a 6.7-magnitude quake on the Richter scale hit Japan, media reported Sunday. The quake hit Nagano City and Hakuba village in Japan, where at least 10 homes...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Three killed in mine explosion in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Nov 23 (IANS) At least three workers were killed and 24 others, six of them serious, injured in an explosion in a coal mine in Malaysia, media reported Sunday. The explosion took place in a coal mine in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
UN slams terrorist attack in Kenya
United Nations, Nov 23 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the terrorist attack on a bus in northern Kenya that left at least 28 people dead. "The secretary-general condemned the attack Saturday on a...
Read more on Politics Balla