From The Executive Director......

Susan C. Real, Executive Director

MEMORANDUM

TO: ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA SERVICE PROVIDERS
FROM: Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE: August 27, 2018

RE: Director’s Report – Senate Approves Funding Older Americans Act (OAA) Programs for FY 2019!

Late last week, Senators voted 85-7 to pass a FY 2019 spending package that includes Older Americans Act (OAA) programs. According to n4a’s Legislative Update dated August 24, 2018, Senate appropriators protected and maintained OAA increases approved for FY 2018 back in March, and matched what was included in the House of Representatives’ Labor-HHS Bill passed in June 2018. The FY 2018-2019 Labor-HHS Appropriations Chart is attached.

  • Older Americans Act Title III Programs - Level Funding for Most Core OAA Programs for FY 2019.
    • Title III B Home and Community-Based Supportive Services maintained at the FY 2018 funding level of $385 million.
    • Title III C Nutrition Services maintained at FY 2018 levels - $490 million for Congregate and $246 million for Home-Delivered Nutrition Services.
    • Title III E Family Caregiver Support received an increase of $300,000 to establish a National Advisory Council to support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. Total amount approved $180,886 million.
    • Title III D Preventative Health maintained at the FY 2018 funding level of $180 million.
  • State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). The Senate spending bill soundly rejects the Administration’s proposal to eliminate the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP). The bill sustains SHIP funding at $49.1 million (FY 2018 funding level).
  • Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services - The spending bill sustains the FY 2018 funding for OAA Title VII Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect programs ($21.6 million). The bill also builds on recent increases for Elder Rights Support Activities, including the Elder Justice Initiative—an ACL priority under the Obama Administration—and funds these programs at $15.8 million.
  • Prevention and Public Health Programs - The Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), which was created in 2010 via the Affordable Care Act (ACA), remains intact. PPHF provides a source of mandatory funding for activities devoted to boosting public health and using proven prevention strategies to reduce Americans’ rates of illness and disability. The Senate’s spending bill contains level funding for these disease prevention and health promotion initiatives targeting older adults, including the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) at $8 million and Elder Falls Prevention at $5 million.
  • Senior Corps - Lawmakers rejected requests from the Administration to eliminate funding for the Senior Corps programs (RSVP, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companion) under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and level-funded all Senior Corps programs at the FY 2018 allocated level of $202 million.
  •  Block Grant Programs Supporting Older Adults - The Senate approved a $50 million increase for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), for a total of $3.69 billion. LIHEAP helps low-income households and families, including many older adults, with heating and energy bills throughout the year.

What Happens Next?
According to n4a, the Senate is moving through the FY 2019 appropriations process and has nearly completed the full slate of spending bills. However, the House has some catching up to do. Due to the limited number of legislative days left in the current fiscal year, and some pending issues that are politically contentions, it is likely that Congress will need to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) in late September to keep funding flowing until the November election.

ECIAAA Advocacy. ECIAAA will encourage lawmakers to adopt final funding levels that reflect the important and much-needed increases for OAA Programs.

Thank you!

SCR:sr
Cc: Control File
Enclosure: FY 2018-2019 Labor-HHS Appropriations Chart

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MEMORANDUM

TO: ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA SERVICE PROVIDERS
FROM: Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE: June 4, 2018

RE: Director’s Report – The Illinois State Budget for FY 2019 Contains Increases in Aging Programs!

On May 31, 2018, the Illinois General Assembly approved the FY 2019 Illinois State Budget,
which is slated to be signed by Governor Rauner on June 4, 2018.

The House, Senate and Administration “budgeteers” created a balanced budget document (House Bill 109) totaling $38.5 billion. The General Assembly also approved House Bill 3342, a budget implementation (BIMP) bill that addresses pension issues and reduces the “salary spiking cap.” The budget bill contains no new taxes but does extend last year’s tax increase.

 Both bills were approved overwhelmingly by the House and Senate. House Bill 109 passed the Senate with a vote of 56-2-0 and the House by a vote of 97-18-0. House Bill 3342 was approved by the Senate 54-2-2 and by the House 100-14-0. The Illinois Aging Budget contains notable increases in the following line items (please note, these are statewide increases, not regional increases):

 ● Planning & Service Grants increased by 12%, an increase of $1,051,700, to assist Area Agencies on Aging in implementing the No Wrong Door initiative through the Department of Human Services.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program increased by 11%, an increase of $500,000, to respond to complaints and advocate on behalf of residents of long-term care facilities.
Adult Protective Services increased by 1%, an increase of $300,000, which will support, in part, the implementation of the Self-Neglect Intervention Program in Illinois.
Care Coordination Unit Services increased by 8%, an increase of $5.5 million dollars, to process Medicaid applications for Community Care Program clients.

 The Illinois Aging Budget for FY 2019 also contains the following programs, which will be sustained at the FY 2018 level:

 • Senior Health Assistance Program (SHAP) will be sustained at $1.8 million. SHAP funding supports the Aging Network by helping clients gain access to the Benefit Access Program, Medicare Part D, Low-Income Subsidy and Medicare Savings Programs.
Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) will be sustained at $2.5 million. SHIP counselors provide enrollment assistance to Medicare Beneficiaries for Medicare, Medicare Supplemental plans, Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug coverage through Medicare Part D.
Senior Employment Specialist Program will be sustained at $190,300.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG) Program will be sustained at $300,00. The Illinois GRF Program provides temporary support to grandparents/relatives of all ages raising grandchildren/children 18 years and younger.
Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP) will be sustained at $551,800.
Foster Grandparents Program will be sustained at $241,400.

The Illinois Aging Budget for FY 2019 contains decreases to the CCP In-Home Services Program and Adult Day Services Program by a total of 2.25% (-$17.9 million).

 Thank you! Thank you for your advocacy efforts this year. Older adults, individuals with disabilities, caregivers, and grandparents raising grandchildren residing in East Central Illinois will be well served by these programs. As you can see - we do make a difference!

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MEMORANDUM

TO: ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA SERVICE PROVIDERS
FROM: Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE: May 16, 2018

RE: Director’s Report – Vote Expected by Congress on First Package of Spending Cuts –Aging Programs Spared in Initial Request

According to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives could vote this week on a package of spending cuts the Trump Administration just requested last week.

The measure, known as a rescission request, is a rare budgetary move established more than 40 years ago that allows the Administration and Congress to pull back previously appropriated funding as a budget-reduction strategy.

As reported in the May 11, 2018 n4a Legislative Update, the request recently sent to Congress would retract $15.4 billion in currently unobligated federal funds, including $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which funds healthcare services for low-income children. This is important because many of our grandparents raising grandchildren/relatives raising children clients rely on CHIP as a vital resource for healthcare for their grandchildren/relative children.

The current proposal does not target funding appropriated in the most recent spending bill for FY 2018, including important increases to Older Americans Act (OAA) and other aging programs.

Even though the bill introduced this week spares OAA funding cuts, it is n4a’s expectation that additional rescission requests issued by the Administration later this summer will more than likely include OAA funding cuts.

Right now, the approval of the March Omnibus Spending Bill for FY 2018 has resulted in NGA’s being processed by the Administration of Community Living/Administration on Aging to ensure the Aging Network receives sorely needed OAA increases in the following programs for FY 2018:

• Older Americans Act Title III Programs
Title III B Home and Community-Based Supportive Services received nearly a $35 million (10 percent) boost for a final funding level of $385 million.

Title III C Nutrition Services received a total $59 million (7 percent) increase ($490
million for Congregate and $246 million for Home-Delivered Nutrition Services).

Title III E Family Caregiver Support received a major $30 million (20 percent) boost
as lawmakers budgeted $180 million for the program.

Title III D Preventative Health received a sizable $5 million (25 percent) increase, the
first boost in years.

• State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) negotiators prevented additional harmful cuts by restoring $2 million to SHIP, which was cut by $5 million in FY 2017. Final SHIP funding at $49.1 million represents a major advocacy win for local advocates who pushed to preserve these critical Medicare counseling services.

• Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services
The spending bill includes a $1 million increase for OAA Title VII Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect programs ($20.1 million). The bill also builds on recent increases for Elder Rights Support Activities, including the Elder Justice Initiative—an ACL priority under the Obama Administration—and funds these programs at $15.8 million ($2 million more than FY 2017).

• Prevention and Public Health Programs
The Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), which was created in 2010 via the Affordable Care Act (ACA), remains intact. PPHF provides a source of mandatory funding for activities devoted to boosting public health and using proven prevention strategies to reduce Americans’ rates of illness and disability. The bill contains level funding for these disease prevention and health promotion initiatives targeting older adults, including the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) at $5 million and Elder Falls Prevention at $8 million.

• Senior Corps
Lawmakers rejected requests from the Administration to eliminate funding for the Senior Corps programs (RSVP, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companion) under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and level-funded all Senior Corps programs at FY 2017 allocations of $202 million.

• Block Grant Programs Supporting Older Adults
The omnibus bill rejects the President’s requests to pull funding from these programs, and approved flat funding for the Community Services Block Grant at $715 million, and the Social Services Block Grant at $1.7 billion. The Community Development Block Grant would receive a $300 million (10 percent) boost to $3.3 billion. The committee also approved a $250 million increase for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), for a total of $3.6 billion. LIHEAP helps low-income households and families, including many older adults, with heating and energy bills throughout the year.
Next Steps: We will watch this process very closely – which will include notifying you of any future rescission requests. ECIAAA will continue our advocacy efforts to members of Congress to ensure the needs of older adults in East Central Illinois are heard, and hopefully, prevent any potential cuts for FY 2018 and FY 2019!

Thank you! We cannot thank you enough for your advocacy efforts this year. We focused on preserving and increasing funding for vital OAA services to older adults, caregivers and grandparents raising grandchildren. Let’s hope we can, together, preserve that support for FY 2018 and FY 2019! Together – we can make a difference!

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MEMORANDUM

TO:         ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA SERVICE PROVIDERS
FROM:   Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:    March 25, 2018

RE:        Director’s Report – A Victory for Older Americans Act (OAA) Programs!

According to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), the omnibus federal spending bill for FY 2018 is a victory for the Aging Network.

As reported in the most recent n4a Legislative Update, the bipartisan spending bill, which was signed by the President on March 23, 2018, provides the most significant funding boosts for OAA activities since 2010, and rejects many of the cuts the House and Administration previously proposed.

Please note, in today’s challenging budget environment, securing increases of this size and scope is a rare and especially sweet victory! These major increases are a testament to the committed, continued advocacy from AAAs and other Aging Network stakeholders!

•Older Americans Act Title III Programs

Title III B Home and Community-Based Supportive Services received nearly a $35 million (10 percent) boost for a final funding level of $385 million.

Title III C Nutrition Services received a total $59 million (7 percent) increase ($490
million for Congregate and $246 million for Home-Delivered Nutrition Services).

Title III E Family Caregiver Support received a major $30 million (20 percent) boost
as lawmakers budgeted $180 million for the program.

Title III D Preventative Health received a sizable $5 million (25 percent) increase, the
first boost in years.

•State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) negotiators prevented additional harmful cuts by restoring $2 million to SHIP, which was cut by $5 million in FY 2017. Final SHIP funding at $49.1 million represents a major advocacy win for local advocates who pushed to preserve these critical Medicare counseling services.

• Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services
The spending bill includes a $1 million increase for OAA Title VII Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect programs ($20.1 million). The bill also builds on recent increases for Elder Rights Support Activities, including the Elder Justice Initiative—an ACL priority under the Obama Administration—and funds these programs at $15.8 million ($2 million more than FY 2017).

•Prevention and Public Health Programs
The Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), which was created in 2010 via the Affordable Care Act (ACA), remains intact. PPHF provides a source of mandatory funding for activities devoted to boosting public health and using proven prevention strategies to reduce Americans’ rates of illness and disability. The bill contains level funding for these disease prevention and health promotion initiatives targeting older adults, including the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) at $5 million and Elder Falls Prevention at $8 million.

•Senior Corps
Lawmakers rejected requests from the Administration to eliminate funding for the Senior Corps programs (RSVP, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companion) under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and level-funded all Senior Corps programs at FY 2017 allocations of $202 million.

•Block Grant Programs Supporting Older Adults
The omnibus bill rejects the President’s requests to pull funding from these programs, and approved flat funding for the Community Services Block Grant at $715 million, and the Social Services Block Grant at $1.7 billion. The Community Development Block Grant would receive a $300 million (10 percent) boost to $3.3 billion. The committee also approved a $250 million increase for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), for a total of $3.6 billion. LIHEAP helps low-income households and families, including many older adults, with heating and energy bills throughout the year.

Thank you! Thank you for your advocacy efforts this year. We focused on preserving and increasing funding for vital OAA services to older adults, caregivers and grandparents raising grandchildren.
As you can see – we made a difference!

SCR:sr
Cc: Control File

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MEMORANDUM

TO:       ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA SERVICE PROVIDERS
FROM: Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:  February 21, 2018

RE:       Director’s Report – A Federal and State Budget Update

At the Federal Level:
We are operating under another Continuing Resolution (CR) at current (FY 2017) funding levels until March 23, 2018. Progress has been made toward finalizing a two-year budget deal.

• The good news is that the House passed a $14.2 million increase for OAA Title III B Supportive Services, but we must ensure that increase is reflected in a final spending bill.

• We, as aging advocates, are asking Congress to, at a minimum, fund the State Health Insurance Program (known as Senior Health Insurance Program – SHIP – in Illinois).

• We are sending a letter to members of Congress detailing our priorities for a final FY 2018 funding bill. A copy of one of the letters is attached. We could use your help by also sending a letter (template attached).

On February 12, 2018, President Trump sent his FY 2019 budget outline to Congress which impacts aging programs. Please note, this budget is visionary and outlines priorities set forth by the Administration. All federal spending bills must be approved by Congress first and typically will not mirror the Administration’s proposed budget. The following describes what is contained in the President’s proposed FY 2019 budget.

• The good news is that core Older Americans Act (OAA) programs were spared cuts, and includes a $6 million boost for OAA Title III C nutrition programs.

• The bad news is that it eliminates SHIP.

• Includes steep cuts and elimination of key programs such as Foster Grandparents and RSVP, LIHEAP, Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) and Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) programs, and the Legal Service Corporation.

• Targets deep cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP (also known as Food Stamps) and disability programs.

• Finally, proposes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

At the State Level:
On February 14, 2018, Governor Rauner presented his state budget for FY 2019. The Governor cited the following Illinois Department on Aging accomplishments during FY 2018:

• Implemented an automated and comprehensive critical event reporting system with a risk mitigation focus to improve quality and timeliness and services and prevent premature hospitalizations

• Implemented Choices for Care, a prescreen policy expediting client screenings to more effectively match individuals with services appropriate to their needs.

• Expanded the Community Care Program to include Automated Medication Dispenser services to participants.


The following describes what is being proposed for Illinois General Revenue Fund allocations in FY 2019.

• An increase of 1.3% in the Illinois Adult Protective Services Program.

• A decrease of 11.2% in the Illinois Community Care Program.

• An increase of 6% in the Illinois Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.

• An increase of 10% for Home Delivered Meals.

It appears the proposed budget includes a slight increase in Senior Health Assistance Programs (SHAP) along with maintaining current funding for the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP).


What’s next?
We will accelerate our advocacy role now more than ever. We just completed twelve (12) County Conversations where our service providers brilliantly described the positive outcomes OAA services have had on over 20,000 older adults in East Central Illinois. We will continue pounding out that message to our lawmakers. Thank you!

FY 2018 Budget Letter To Congress Template

FY 2018 Budget Letter to Congressman Davis

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MEMORANDUM
TO: ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA SERVICE PROVIDERS
FROM: Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE: December 29, 2017
RE: Director’s Report – Year-End Update on the Federal Budget
The Aging Network has its challenges as we welcome the New Year. I have included highlights from n4a’s Legislative Update dated December 21, 2017, authored by Amy Gotwals, Chief, Public Policy and Advocacy, and Autumn Campbell, Director, Public Policy and Advocacy. Before Congress adjourned for Christmas break, they took the following action which affects the Older Americans Act and programs serving older adults:
• Congress and the Administration avoided another impending shutdown threat after passing a short-term spending bill in advance of the Christmas break.
• Congress passed its second continuing resolution (CR), to keep federal programs funded at FY 2017 levels temporarily through January 19, 2018.
While n4a and ECIAAA will typically not weigh in on tax measures, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed by Congress last week is expected to have the following impact on programs serving older Americans:
• The final bill, while retaining the medical expense deduction as it is in current law, would still drive up the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Even with robust economic growth to offset some of that deficit spending, nonpartisan experts predict the bill will ultimately drive at least $1 trillion in deficits over 10 years.
• The FY 2018 budget resolution, which passed by both chambers this fall and is the mechanism by which tax cuts moved so quickly, specifically calls for more than $2.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and other aging programs like the Older Americans Act – in the name of deficit reduction.
• Republican leaders in Congress and the White House have indicated that legislation to make those cuts is a primary goal for 2018.
• Passage of the tax cuts will force automatic cuts to Medicare and several other mandatory programs in January. While Congress has averted such cuts in the past, the Tax Cut bill will force revenue and deficit choices that we believe put critical aging programs in jeopardy in the short and long-term.
What’s next for 2018?
• As advocates for older adults, we must be vigilant. We believe that Congress should find balanced, responsible solutions to our nation’s long-term deficit issues that take into consideration the critical importance of Medicaid, Medicare and other programs that support older adults, caregivers and grandparents raising grandchildren.
In closing, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for your service to older adults, caregivers and grandparents

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MEMORANDUM

TO:             ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA SERVICE PROVIDERS
FROM:       Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:        September 20, 2017

RE:            Director’s Report – Update on the Federal Budget for FY 2018

The Aging Network has its challenges as we prepare for the close of FY 2017 and begin FY 2018. I have included highlights from n4a’s Legislative Update dated September 14, 2017, authored by Amy Gotwals, Chief, Public Policy and Advocacy, and Autumn Campbell, Director, Public Policy and Advocacy. Since Congress returned from their August recess on September 5, 2017, the following action items have taken place that affects the Older Americans Act and programs serving older adults:

• Congress and the Administration avoided an impending shutdown threat after passing a short-term spending bill in advance of the end of FY 2017.

• Congress passed a bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to keep federal programs funded at FY 2017 levels temporarily and to extend the debt limit until December 8, 2017.

Progress made by the House of Representatives on Older Americans Act Funding for FY 2018:

• Back in July, the full House Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) that would maintain OAA core programs at current funding levels (i.e. level funding).

  • However, the original funding measure eliminates funding for Senior Health Insurance Programs (SHIPs) and drastically reduces funding for senior workforce development and elder justice programs.
  • New developments occurred last week, whereby the House agreed by voice vote to adopt the amendment from Rep. McSally to increase Title III-B supportive services funding by $14.2 million.
  • This is the first significant increase for these programs since they were slashed during sequestration, and it represents a major advocacy win for the Aging Network!

Senate Progress on Older Americans Act Funding for FY 2018:

  • Senate appropriators also made progress by introducing a bill that would entirely fund OAA programs and other aging programs at the FY 2017 levels (i.e. level funding).
  • The Senate funding bill rejects the House-proposed cuts to SHIP, SCSEP and Elder Justice programs, and would maintain the status quo for aging funding in FY 2018.
  • While flat funding is often felt as a cut for many local agencies, in this very difficult budget environment, the Senate-proposed bill is also a major advocacy win.

Next Steps:

  • As an advocate for older adults, ECIAAA will be responding to both the House and Senate funding proposals. Ultimately, aging advocates are supporting the Senate-proposed levels for SHIP, SCSEP and Elder Justice. However, we also want Congress to adopt the House-passed increase for OAA Title III-B programs, which is long overdue.
  • Kathryn Johnson, ECIAAA Grants Compliance Coordinator, has prepared the attached Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Value Analysis for PSA 05. As you can see, ECIAAA’s older constituents significantly benefit from the program. Please help us advocate to save SHIP by sharing this information with your Representative from Congress. ECIAAA continues to work with I4a and n4a to save SHIP.

Thank you for your service to all older adults in East Central Illinois. Stay tuned for updates!

SCR:sr

Attachment: ECIAAA SHIP Value Analysis for PSA 05

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MEMORANDUM

TO:             ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA SERVICE PROVIDERS
FROM:       Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:        August 16, 2017

RE:             Director’s Report – Federal Update

What a year! Now that Illinois has a budget for FY 2018, we are focusing on the status of Older Americans Act (OAA) funding. I have summarized key messages contained in n4a’s most recent Advocacy Alert.

  • House appropriators took the first steps toward establishing funding levels for OAA and other aging programs in late July, when the House Appropriations Committee passed a bill to fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) for FY 2018.
  • Despite the high-level cuts that lawmakers proposed, House appropriators approved level funding for most core OAA programs.
  • Although stagnant funding for programs that serve a growing population, meet a growing need, and cost more each year, often translates to a cut for local agencies – sparing most OAA programs from House-proposed cuts in this incredibly challenging environment is an advocacy win!
  • Unfortunately, House lawmakers did propose the elimination of the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP).
  • Now it is the Senate’s turn to pass its Labor-HHS funding bill. Senate leaders have been supportive overall for the Labor-HHS spending bill. It remains uncertain that their support will translate into an increase in OAA funding for FY 2018.
  • It is possible that House and Senate lawmakers may be unable to push FY 2018 funding bills through normal legislative channels, resulting in passing a continuing resolution (CR) that simply extends current funding levels into next year.
  • House and Senate leadership could also draft a funding bill that rolls multiple individual appropriations bills into one, known as an omnibus.

    ECIAAA has sent a letter to Senator Richard Durbin, who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, advocating for full funding for all OAA programs and full restoration of the Senior Health Insurance Program. However, continued advocacy efforts are being carried out nationally (by n4a) to urge all Senate Appropriators to reject proposed cuts to vital aging programs. We will keep you posted – and thank you for your advocacy!

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MEMORANDUM

TO:             ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA SERVICE PROVIDERS
FROM:       Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:        July 12, 2017

RE:             Director’s Report – Update on the State Budget for FY 2018

As noted in the July 7th Director’s Report, the Illinois House voted July 6, 2017 to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a budget package, giving Illinois its first budget in more than two years. ECIAAA has obtained more details pertaining to the FY 2018 budget package as outlined below:

Source: Summary issued by Illinois Representative Greg Harris - 13th District

• Contains $3 billion in reductions from current spending levels.

• Pays down $8 billion of Illinois’ backlog of past bills.

• Includes $1.4 billion in pension reform savings.

• Includes an increase of $350 million for K-12 education, and a $50 million increase for early childhood education.

• Includes $1 billion in savings from across the board budget reductions to state operations and bureaucracy.

• Restores funding for the Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

• Restores funding for operations of colleges, universities and community colleges at 90% of FY 15 levels.

• Includes full funding for the Community Care Program – with no funding for Governor’s proposed Community Reinvestment Program (CRP).

• Includes an increase in funding levels for Home Delivered Meals.

• Restores funding for Illinois Medicaid.

• Provides rate increases for compensation to disability, home service, senior services, mental health, substance abuse and Supportive Living Facility (SLF) workers.

• Restores funding for Illinois Domestic Violence Shelters.

• Includes increased funding for violence prevention, mental health, substance abuse, services for at-risk youth, and after school programs.

• Increases funding for HIV/AIDS, and breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment.

The passage of the FY 2018 budget plan also provides the necessary funding to meet FY 2017 funding obligations – in other words, to make FY 2017 "whole."

ECIAAA has been informed that it will receive revised planning allocations for FY 2017 and FY 2018. Once such information is received, we will notify service providers of necessary budget revisions. Thank you.

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MEMORANDUM

TO:             ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA SERVICE PROVIDERS
FROM:       Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:        July 7, 2017

RE:             Director’s Report – State Budget for FY 2018

The Illinois House voted Thursday to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a budget package, giving Illinois its first budget in more than two years and ending the nation’s longest fiscal stalemate. ECIAAA applauds those legislators who worked across the aisle in the spirit of service and compromise.

The budget is retroactive to July 1, 2017. The budget includes a 4.95% individual income tax (increase from 3.75%), and a corporate rate of 7% (from 5.25%). Credit rating agencies have threatened to downgrade Illinois to “junk” status because it does not have the funds to address the state’s massively underfunded pensions or to pay down bills. Illinois has a $6.2 billion annual deficit and $14.7 billion in overdue bills.

Appropriations include an across the board cut (8%) to Department on Aging operations, increases to the Illinois Community Care Program, and an increase to the Home Delivered Meals line item.

We will keep you posted – thank you for your advocacy efforts in bringing this 735 day budget impasse to an end!

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TO:          ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA Service Providers
FROM:    Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:     June 14, 2017

RE:           Director’s Report – State Legislative/Advocacy Update

On the State Scene…

On May 31, 2017, the Illinois General Assembly adjourned the regular legislative session without passing an Illinois State Budget. Please note, all budget and fiscal decisions taken after adjournment will require a three-fifths majority vote.

Here are the highlights of the legislative session as of May 31, 2017:

  • What kept the Grand Bargain from moving forward was the lack of agreement on a property tax freeze.
  • The Senate went ahead and approved a budget plan that increased taxes and provided major gaming expansion.
  • One significant point in the Senate Democratic plan was that it provided a spending level of $37.3 billion – the same spending level that the Governor requested in his February budget message.
  • The House and Senate approved resolutions to be in “continuous session” whereby either or both can be called back into session immediately, by the Speaker or Senate President, without having to go through the formality of calling a special legislative session.
  • Legislation that moved forward at the time of adjournment:
    1. House Bill 238 – Senate Amendment I – overturns the Community Reinvestment Program (CRP).  Status:  Passed Senate; House - Order of Concurrence.

    2. House Bill 2665 – State Guardian shall provide training on the duties and responsibilities of guardians appointed for adults with disabilities under the Probate Act of 1975.  Status:  Passed both Houses.

    3. Senate Bill 583 – Creates an irrevocable and continuing appropriation for the distribution of federal funds received by the State for purposes authorized by the federal government.  Status:  Senate – Appropriations II Committee.

    4. Senate Bill 1319 – Provides that the Illinois Supreme Court or any circuit court of this State may adopt rules permitting the use of video conferencing equipment in any adult guardianship hearing.  Status:  Passed both Houses.

    5. Senate Bill 1409 – Provides that the court shall not order the sealing of the records of arrests or charges not initiated by arrest which result in a conviction for financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability, aggravated identity theft against a person 60 years of age or older or a person with a disability, abuse or criminal neglect of a long-term care facility resident, or criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person or person with a disability.  Status:  Passed Senate; House – Judiciary-Criminal Committee.

Will the General Assembly pass a budget by June 30, 2017? 

  • We are hearing reports that the Chiefs of Staff from both the Governor’s office and Speaker’s office are attempting to discuss solutions to the budget impasse.

  • It is anticipated that the threat of public schools not opening later this year may be the only driving force for lawmakers to adopt a second stopgap budget.

  • Even if a stopgap budget is passed at the end of the fiscal year, the backlog of outstanding bills has risen to $14.5 billion and is expected to reach $24 billion if no budget agreement is reached for the next or the following fiscal year.

     

    I4A Testimony to the Illinois House of Representatives Human Services Appropriations Committee.  On June 8, 2017, testimony was presented outlining the crisis facing the Aging Network due to the budget impasse. Please find attached the testimony authored by Jonathan Lavin, AgeOptions, I4A Legislative Chair.   

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MEMORANDUM

TO:          ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA Service Providers
FROM:    Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:     May 30, 2017

RE:          Director's Report - Federal and State Legislative/Advocacy Update

On the Federal Scene… FY 2018 Budget Forecast

  • President Trump released his proposed budget for FY 2018 in more detail.

  • The $4.1 trillion budget request includes proposals to cut federal spending by $3.6 trillion over ten years through massive cuts to Medicaid, nutrition and income assistance programs for low-income Americans.

  • Cuts to Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) programs are also proposed.

  • Older Americans Act Programs, in part, have been spared massive cuts in the President’s budget request. The following is a summary of specific programs and proposed funding levels:

    • $347 million in Title III-B – Supportive Services

    • $447 million in Title III-C1 – Congregate Meals

    • $226 million in Title III-C2 – Home Delivered Meals

    • $150 million in Title III-E – Family Caregiver Support

    • Unfortunately, the budget request does not reflect the ultimate increases for IIIB and IIIC services that were included in the final FY 2017 funding bill, but that should not be read as a cut (refer to SCR’s Director’s Report dated 5.2.17)
  • The President’s budget request includes the elimination of key programs:
    • State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) citing duplication with other federal resources such as 1-800-MEDICARE. 

    • Note, funding for SHIPs was cut by $5 million in the final FY 2017 funding bill, with the Administration’s requested elimination of the program in FY 2018.

    • OAA Title V Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

    • Senior Corps Programs– RSVP, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companion.

  • Elimination of other critical programs that often supplement and support the work of the Aging Network:

      • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

      • Social Services Block Grant (SSBG)

      • Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)

      • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
  • The Administration has proposed to significantly reduce federal investments in mandatory spending in programs that serve low-income Americans, including older adults. Key safety net programs, including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) would see major reforms.
  • Advocacy is still needed – even though the President’s budget request is a proposal, it sets the tone for massive cuts for FY 2018. Our Congressmen and Senators understand the value of the Aging Network in east central Illinois. Our continued advocacy is needed to ensure key and safety net programs remain intact for vulnerable elders.
  • Please refer to the attached FY 2018 Labor-HHS Appropriations Chart updated May 23, 2017.

On the State Scene….

Today marks the 700th day without a State budget.  We are hearing reports that another version of the “Grand Bargain” known as the “Grander Bargain” has generated support by the Democrats in the Senate.  What continues to be a roadblock in obtaining bipartisan support is balancing the income tax increase measure with a property tax freeze measure. The “Lifeline Budget” passed in April by the Illinois House is still on the table. Whether it be the “Grander Bargain” or the “Lifeline Budget”, the Illinois General Assembly must resolve the Budget Impasse before they adjourn on May 31, 2017. 

 Stay tuned for more updates!  Thanks to everyone for your continued advocacy efforts on behalf of older adults, caregivers, grandparents/relatives raising grandchildren/children and individuals with disabilities!

 SCR:sr

ATTACHMENT:  FY 2018 Labor-HHS Appropriations Chart (May 23, 2017)  

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MEMORANDUM

TO:          ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA Service Providers
FROM:    Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:     May 2, 2017

RE:           Director’s Report – Federal & State Legislative/Advocacy Update

On the Federal Scene…

  • Late Sunday night (April 30, 2017), Congress announced that they had reached a bipartisan deal to fund the government through the remainder of FY 2017.
  • While Congress must still pass, and the President must sign the bipartisan funding proposal, it is expected that lawmakers will meet the May 5th deadline imposed by last-week’s short-term continuing resolution.
  • Older Americans Act Programs and related services mostly received level funding in the final bill, which is very good news in this challenging budget environment. The following is a summary of specific programs that received increases or reductions:

- $2.5 million increase in Title III-B – Supportive Services

- $1 million increase in Title III C2 – Home Delivered Meals

- $2 million increase in Title III-C1 – Congregate Meals

- $34 million decrease in the Title V Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP) which is a nearly 8% reduction

- $5 million decrease in the Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIPs) which is a 9.6% reduction

  • Older Americans Act Programs and related services that received level funding:

- Title III-E Family Caregiver Support Program

- Title VII Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

- Prevention and Public Health Fund – CDSMP and Falls Prevention programs

- Senior Corps – RSVP, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companion

- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

- Social Services Block Grant (SSBG)

- Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)

- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

  • Advocacy is still needed – the President’s proposed budget for FY 2018 includes deeper cuts in discretionary grants such as the Older Americans Act.
  • Please refer to the attached FY 2017-2018 Labor-HHS Appropriations Chart updated April 30, 2017.

On the State Scene…

Even though we heard promising reports, final efforts failed by the Illinois Senate to bring the bipartisan budget proposal labeled the "Grand Bargain" to a vote. The Illinois House recently passed their version of an emergency budget labeled the "Lifeline Budget." Whether it be the "Grand Bargain" or the "Lifeline Budget", the Illinois General Assembly must resolve the Budget Impasse before they adjourn on May 31, 2017.

Stay tuned for more updates! Thanks to everyone for your continued advocacy efforts on behalf of older adults, caregivers, grandparents/relatives raising grandchildren/children and individuals with disabilities!

 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MEMORANDUM

TO:             ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA Service Providers

FROM:       Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR

DATE:        March 14, 2017

RE:             Director’s Report – Federal & State Legislative/Advocacy Update

On the Federal Scene…Excerpt from Source: n4A’s Legislative Update-Major Changes Proposed for Health Care and Aging Programs. From n4a’s Legislative Team: Amy Gotwals and Autumn Campbell

Older Americans Act – Continuing Resolution or Omnibus Bill?

The current Continuing Resolution (CR) ends on April 28, 2017. One approach is to pass another CR for the rest of the fiscal year. Another approach is to pass certain individual funding bills and roll them into small omnibus-type bills, knowns as “minibuses.” Either way, it is unlikely that the Older Americans Act will see an increase this year.

House of Representatives release plan replacing the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act.  

The American Health Care Act would have major implications for both seniors age 65 and older and pre-Medicare older adults ages 55 to 64.

The American Health Care Act maintains the following provisions as contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

  1. It leaves in place the prohibition on denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions; and,

  2. Will maintain ACA’s phase-out of the Medicare Part D doughnut hole.

However, the American Health Care Act will have a negative impact on older adults.

  • The replacement plan halts several major funding sources and significantly restructures cost-sharing arrangements.
  • Insurers may charge five times more for a plan they offer to an older adult than the plan they give to a younger person, resulting in higher premiums for people aged 55 to 64. (ACA requires insurers may not charge more than 3 times more to older adults).

  • The replacement plan will result in higher premiums and reduced tax credits for middle and low-income earners – especially seniors.

  • AARP has estimated that under the American Health Care Act, 3.2 million adults age 55 to 64 who buy coverage on the marketplace could face premium and cost-sharing increases of $3,600 a year or more.

  • The replacement plan will affect Medicaid by eliminating the federal-state cost-sharing arrangement to a federal per-capita cap structure.   Advocates are concerned that such a capped system could severely limit a state’s ability to keep up with the rising costs of providing care.

  • The replacement plan reduces and eliminates the Prevention and Public Health Fund completely in 2019. This provision under the Affordable Care Act supports ACL grants for falls prevention programs, and chronic disease self-management programs.

    On the State Scene…

     

    Community Reinvestment Program (CRP)/ House Bill 3814.

    The Illinois House Aging Committee heard testimony on March 9, 2017 from senior advocates pertaining to the Illinois Department on Aging’s Community Reinvestment Program.

    The committee is chaired by Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin). The Minority Spokesperson is Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Mt. Vernon). In summary, agencies who presented testimony were either opposed or supportive, but all were unified in requesting that CRP be implemented through the legislative process – not the administrative rule process.

     Illinois Budget Impasse for FY 2017.

Both the Illinois House and Senate return today, March 14, 2017. The following bullet points highlight the “Grand Bargain” bi-partisan plan the Senate has been working on for the past two months. The plan calls for both new revenues plus $2.7 billion in cuts.   Contacts have been made to Senators Barickman, Brady, Manar and Rose to thank them for their efforts, and to reinforce the urgency to resolve the budget impasse – 18,000 thousand seniors in east central Illinois are adversely impacted by this budget battle.

We will keep you posted. Thank you everyone for your continued advocacy efforts on behalf of older adults, caregivers, grandparents/relatives raising grandchildren/children and individuals with disabilities in east central Illinois!

SCR:sr

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MEMORANDUM

TO: ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA Service Providers
FROM: Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE: February 28, 2017

RE: Director’s Report – Federal & State Legislative/Advocacy Update

On the Federal Scene…Excerpted from Source: n4A’s Legislative Update-Major Changes Proposed for Health Care and Aging Programs. From n4a’s Legislative Team: Amy Gotwals and Autumn Campbell

Congress and the Trump Administration Announce Changes - Policy Details Thin

In the past week, reports have emerged from both Capitol Hill and the White House that indicate the direction Republican policymakers will go in making major changes to both federal health care programs and the federal budget. n4a will continue to provide details, advocacy opportunities and resources as they are available, but for now, we wanted to inform our members as to what appears to be emerging, even if only at a high level.

What Do We Know?

If leaked documents from the House of Representatives and statements from the White House are accurate, lawmakers will soon unveil the first of several steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to restructure Medicaid, and the White House will release a proposal to dramatically cut funding for non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs in FY 2018. While these reports are not surprising, they are the first major examples of policy priorities for the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress.

We expect additional details on both proposals will emerge this week now that Members of Congress have returned to DC and President Trump will give his first address to Congress this evening. However, it may still be several weeks or more before we know exactly how these changes could affect Medicaid and funding for Older Americans Act and other critical aging programs.

Changes to Federal Health Care Programs

On Friday, a House draft bill to begin the repeal process for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was leaked. Details of that proposal also reflected the first legislative salvo at restructuring the federal-state health care and LTSS program Medicaid. Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration have been floating major changes to Medicaid, but advocates and policy analysts were initially anticipating these changes wouldn’t be unveiled until the fall of this year. However, in recent weeks, it’s become clear that the timetable for Medicaid has been moved up.

The proposal that leaked from the House authorizing committees would not only repeal large swaths of the ACA, including the individual coverage mandate and Medicaid expansion, it would also transition the federal Medicaid program into a per-capita cap structure by FY 2019, which would shift the federal contribution to states for Medicaid beneficiaries from a dynamic structure that increases as costs increase to establishing a per-beneficiary spending limit for states. As proposed in the leaked draft, the federal contribution would be tied to current spending, and increased based on the rate of the Medical Consumer Price Index plus 1 percent each year.

n4a and other advocates are still analyzing what a per-capita cap structure for Medicaid would mean for Medicaid providers—especially for traditionally high-cost beneficiaries, including older adults and people with disabilities. We also cannot confirm at this point that lawmakers have abandoned the block grant approach, either. We do know, however, that previous reform proposals have set a goal of reducing federal Medicaid costs up to 40 percent over 10 years. This cost reduction would likely come through a combination of constrained federal spending, increased risk and costs for states, and potential reductions in services available to beneficiaries. For AAAs and other CBOs providing home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid waiver programs—and the clients who rely on HCBS—these changes could be particularly troubling.

Initial Details of Trump Budget

Today, the Trump Administration announced plans to make significant shifts in discretionary spending levels for defense and non-defense programs in the President’s first budget. Again, details are sparse, but what we do know is that the Administration plans to release an FY 2018 budget that breaks long-standing parity between defense and non-defense discretionary spending cuts, and pay for a proposed $54 billion boost to defense programs with a $54 billion cut to NDD programs. Reports indicate that this level of cuts to NDD programs could translate into an overall 10 percent cut. Details of how such a cut would be reflected among individuals agencies, such as the Administration for Community Living, Administration on Aging, etc., is still uncertain.

We don’t anticipate seeing any specifics at all on how this broad cut would be absorbed among agencies until the Administration delivers the first draft of what they’re calling a "skinny" budget proposal to Congress the week of March 13. Even then, we may not know exactly how the Administration proposes to fund smaller agencies or specific programs. At this time, the President has said there will be no cuts or changes to mandatory programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

As an important reminder, the President’s budget is not a binding policy document, and it does not finalizing funding decisions—those are made by appropriators in Congress. However, the budget document does set an important vision for Administration priorities, and emphasizes that intense advocacy efforts from the NDD community and grassroots will be necessary to prevent these proposals from being realized.

What Happens Next?

The House and Senate returned to DC this week for six weeks of legislative activity, and President Trump will address a joint session of Congress for the first time tonight. We expect the House to take the lead on passing a reconciliation proposal reflecting ACA and Medicaid changes, and send a proposal to the Senate by the end of March. The Senate must complete their own reconciliation bill, and both chambers have to agree on a measure before any changes would be sent to the President. The release of a bare-bones budget from the Administration in March will kick off the federal FY 2018 funding debates in Congress, however, lawmakers must also finish the FY 2017 funding bills by April 28 when the current funding bill expires.

On the State Scene…. (As reported on February 28, 2017 by Terry Steczo, I4A Lobbyist)

Community Reinvestment Program (CRP)/ House Bill 3814

One of the positive development occurring during the current legislative session is the reconstituting of the House Aging Committee. The committee is chaired by Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin). The Minority Spokesperson is Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Mt. Vernon). One of the first orders of business before the committee will be to hold a subject matter hearing on CRP. The Governor also made note of the creation of CRP in his Budget Address. The hearing was supposed to have been held last week but was cancelled and will be rescheduled. I4A has been invited to present testimony.

Also, Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) has filed House Bill 3814 to try to begin the process of assisting with the issue of immunity if/when the CRP becomes operative. The synopsis of the bill is as follows:

  • House Bill 3814 - Amends the Illinois Act on the Aging. Provides that any person or organization authorized by the Department on Aging to provide services under the Community Care Program shall, in the good faith performance of those services, have immunity from any civil, criminal, or other liability in any civil, criminal, or other proceeding brought as a consequence of the performance of those services. Provides that the State shall indemnify and hold harmless any person or organization authorized by the Department to provide services under the Community Care Program for all the acts, omissions, decisions, or other conduct arising out of the scope of the Community Care Program duties of the person or organization; and that the method of providing indemnification shall be as provided in the State Employee Indemnification Act. Provides that the immunity and indemnification protections in the new provisions apply to the Community Care Program and any related program subsequently established by administrative rule.

Will Fiscal February Lead To March Madness?

For a month where nothing concrete happened there was certainly a lot to digest relating to the prospects of Illinois finally having a budget after almost two years. The Governor proposed his budget in mid-February that was proceeded by a plan from the Illinois Policy Institute that showed how the Illinois budget could be balanced with cuts alone, and in the meantime the Illinois Senate "grand bargain" kept chugging along with some changes and with more to come but with no hint that the effort would be successful.

The Senate's vision of a solution to the budget impasse, the "grand bargain" has taken the shape of a dozen bills that cover taxes, borrowing, procurement reform, workers compensation reform, pension reform, local government consolidation and more. Taxes, obviously, are the big bug-a-boo among those who want to get the crisis over with. Finding enough places to raise enough revenue to get out of the fiscal hole is tough. And finding the votes to pass it is even tougher. The same is true with workers compensation reform. Finding the right balance between labor and business interests is not for the faint of heart. Add pension reform to the mix and you wind up with an Excedrin headache with an incalculable number.

Tax provisions in the "grand bargain" changed over the past few weeks due to push back on some provisions. And they'll be changing again as they look for the right mix that can raise enough money and that will placate enough legislators and the Governor. The original Senate plan provided for an income tax increase to 4.75% and a tax on sugary drinks. The sugary drink proposal went flat and was replaced by a hike in the income tax to 4.99% and a "business opportunity" tax. Then, the "business opportunity" tax was removed and replaced with a widening of sales and services taxes with a reduction in the rate from 6.25% to 5.75%. Sales taxes on food and medicine would come back as part of this proposal after a 40-year hiatus. But, after an objection by the Governor in his budget address expect that to be jettisoned and replaced with something else. Governor Rauner indicated in his budget address that he was "encouraged" by the Senate activities and even gave them some parameters to work with, among which were no sales tax on food and medicine and no taxing of retirement incomes (an issue that never has been on the table).

One day after the budget address Senate President John Cullerton decided, based on the Governor's pronouncements the previous day, to try to move parts of the "grand bargain: through the Senate even though GOP senators objected. The result was less than impressive. The two bills that were the easiest of the dozen, local government consolidation (Senate Bill 3) and procurement reform (Senate Bill 8) were approved with no GOP support for the bipartisan bills. Then the decision was made to call Senate Bill 11, pension reform, which ended Cullerton's push after it was defeated handily. If the "grand bargain" is to come to fruition many more moving parts are going to have to be adjusted before it's ready for prime time. And there is also the real distinct possibility that prime time may never come. Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno has intimated that if there is no Senate action by February 28 the whole process should be scrapped. If that does happen then the misery index will shoot through the ceiling and may stay there for a long while.

The Art of Compromise.

One of the precepts about the Illinois budget impasse that most people accept is that you can't cut nor tax your way out of the mess and back to fiscal health. The solution is going to have to be a combination of both. The Senate "grand bargain" plan calls for both new revenues plus $2.7 billion in cuts. When the Governor publicly endorsed the Senate effort during his budget address one of the more conservative organizations, the Illinois Policy Institute, who has supported Rauner's efforts thus far became apoplectic and one of their writers, in an op-ed piece in the Chicago Tribune just prior to the budget message chastised the Governor and warned him not to become the "governor of capitulation" and urged him to be the one to take a "sledgehammer to the system". They also emphasized that "Rauner should release a plan do what he promised in the campaign trail". They may have forgotten that a part of Rauner's revenue policy proposals was a broadening of sales and services taxes similar to, with the exception of food and medicine, what's contained in the Senate plan. An idea as to what the Institute has in mind might be evidenced by the proposal the Institute released in early February which portrayed a roadmap to balancing the state budget by cutting current expenditures with no new revenues. Among other things the plan calls for

  • A five-year property tax freeze with future increases tied to statewide median household income rather than the rate of inflation;
  • The state would keep the $1.75 billion that currently goes to local governments, primarily municipalities;
  • Municipalities would be allowed to declare bankruptcy to overcome various labor constraints such as prevailing wage and collective bargaining;
  • State mandates relative to prevailing wage and collective bargaining would be modified;
  • State Medicaid would be cut by 600,000 individuals, eligibility would be tightened and lower drug costs would be sought by utilizing a pharmacy benefits manager and the Obamacare Medicaid expansion would be   repealed;
  • New state employees would be placed in a 401k type retirement plan with options for current employees to opt in;
  • State payroll would be reduced by 10%;
  • Pension subsidies to local school districts ($970 million) and higher education ($450 million) would end;
  • The "Edgar pension ramp" would be modified and any actuarial changes resulting in lower assumptions for each of the five state pension systems would be phased in over five years rather than immediately;
  • Reduce state appropriations to higher education by $500 million to curb higher administrative costs.

Some of the provisions of the plan are workable while others would be dead on arrival with the political makeup of the state and the realities of state governance and policies.

We will keep you posted. Thank you everyone for your continued advocacy efforts on behalf of older adults, caregivers, grandparents/relatives raising grandchildren/children and individuals with disabilities in east central Illinois!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MEMORANDUM

TO:           ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA Service Providers
FROM:     Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:      January 27, 2017

RE:           Director’s Report – Federal & State Legislative/Advocacy Update

On the Federal Scene…Excerpted from Source: n4A’s Analysis of the Repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Its Effect on Older Adults. N4a’s Legislative Team: Amy Gotwals and Autumn Campbell

What Would Affordable Care Act (ACA) Repeal Mean for the Aging Network and Older Adults?

Previous proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have focused on both dismantling the federal insurance exchange Marketplace and rolling back state Medicaid expansion—particularly for low-income adults. However, ACA repeal proposals have also targeted both curbing efforts for delivery system reform promulgated through the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) within CMS and also eliminating funding for disease prevention and health promotion activities through the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). Republicans crafting repeal proposals have also taken aim at efforts to rebalance state LTSS systems toward providing home and community-based options (HCBS).

Additionally, while many older adults age 65 and over would not be directly affected by Marketplace or Medicaid changes in an ACA repeal and/or replacement effort, there are key coverage and financial protections that could be at risk in an ACA repeal. Specifically, n4a evaluates both what changes to Medicaid might mean for the pre-Medicare population ages 54 to 65 and how Medicare benefits and solvency might be affected by ACA repeal.

Considerations for Policymakers in Developing ACA Replacement Proposals

Details about both a timeline for ACA repeal/replacement, as well as specific policy proposals, are vague at this point. However, there are key considerations that stakeholders and advocates should be raising with lawmakers as they discuss both the implications for ACA repeal and the forthcoming replacement packages.

Primarily, Aging Network advocates should be asking both how ACA repeal efforts will preserve and continue to promote integration between health care and social services systems, as well as what lawmakers will do to continue to advance rebalancing efforts promoted through ACA.

Next Steps in Health Care Reform and ACA Advocacy

At this point there are many details still up in the air about exactly how Congress will move forward in reconsidering the ACA and any replacement provisions. National advocates, including n4a, remain focused on ensuring that Members of Congress understand the risks of repealing entrenched health care policy without sufficiently detailed replacement proposals. We encourage local agencies and advocates to echo these concerns to your Senators and Representatives, as well.

It remains to be seen whether Congress—specifically the Senate—will have the votes necessary to pass a repeal package in the coming weeks. A legislative package to eliminate the ACA would not be subject to filibuster and would require only a simple majority vote in the Senate to move to then-President Trump’s desk for signature, although the anticipated timeline for ACA repeal and replacement remains notably ambitious. However, there are currently 10 Republican Senators who have expressed significant concerns with voting to repeal without a clear vision for replacement.

ACA ADVOCACY in ACTION! Please refer to the attached n4a Policy Brief and n4a Advocacy Alert.

On the State Scene….

Even though we heard promising reports, final efforts failed by the General Assembly to bring an end to the Illinois Budget Crisis before the January 26th break in regular session. Both houses come back in session on February 7, 2017. I4a has learned that there continues to be positive movement on the part of lawmakers toward resolving the Illinois budget issue. Mark your calendars…February 15, 2017 is the date of the Governor’s annual Budget Address.

Thank you everyone for your continued advocacy efforts on behalf of older adults, caregivers, grandparents/relatives raising grandchildren/children and individuals with disabilities!

SCR:sr

 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MEMORANDUM
To:              ECIAAA CORPORATE BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS & ECIAAA Service Providers
FROM:       Susan C. Real, Executive Director SCR
DATE:        January 3, 2017

RE:             Director’s Report – Federal & State Legislative/Advocacy Update

On the Federal Scene…Excerpted from Source: n4A’s Forecast of Policy Activity in a Whirlwind New Year. n4a’s Legislative Team: Amy Gotwals and Autumn Campbell

As we enter into the new year, I have excerpted a number of points from our excellent Advocacy Source - n4a’s January 3, 2017 Legislative Update - to provide you with a legislative forecast on the Federal front. The 115th Congress arrives in Washington this week with Republicans in control of both chambers and a Trump Administration assuming office in less than three weeks. Congressional leadership’s legislative agenda could have major implications for all federal programs, including Older Americans Act (OAA) and other aging programs. The following describes n4a’s current forecast of how the first few months of 2017 may go.  

Budget Reconciliation and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Repeal – n4a’s forecast:

On January 9, the 115th Congress is expected to take up a bare-bones budget resolution for FY 2017. The new Congress will likely pass a budget for a fiscal year that is already three months underway. Traditionally, Congress passes a budget resolution in the spring for the upcoming federal fiscal year. The resolution, which is non-binding and is not signed into law by the President, sets broad priorities for investment and is intended to serve as a guide to appropriations committees, which do the complicated work of establishing and passing funding parameters for federal programs.  

However, passing a budget resolution also gives lawmakers the ability to instruct committees to pass legislation that can enact policy initiatives. This process is known as budget reconciliation. According to n4a, this is a fast-track legislative strategy that requires only a simple majority to pass in the Senate making it immune to filibuster. This means that with a narrow 52-48 majority in the Senate, Republicans have the numbers to pass a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

Because Congress did not pass a budget resolution for FY 17 last spring, according to n4a, it is expected that Congress will use this opportunity to pass one now and to use the reconciliation process to undo ACA. And, while n4a doesn’t have details on exactly what ACA repeal would look like, or whether there would be a plan to replace it, n4a reports that repeal efforts could occur quickly in January.

Administration’s FY 2018 Budget – n4a’s forecast:

By law, the Administration is supposed to have its federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2018) to Congress by the first Monday in February. Traditionally, this document is the first opportunity for a new Administration to lay out priorities for all federal programs—mandatory and discretionary—to Congress. The President’s budget is not a binding, legal document, and it is not considered legislatively in Congress. Rather, it sets a tone and template for the investments and priorities of the President.   However, some experts are predicting that the incoming Administration may forgo releasing a budget altogether. While doing so wouldn’t be illegal, it would be unprecedented.  

Increasing the Debt Limit – n4a’s forecast :

In March, the U.S. will hit its borrowing limit, known as the debt ceiling. The common and recently contentious process of raising the debt ceiling requires Congressional approval. Since 2010, lawmakers have used debt ceiling negotiations as leverage to restrict discretionary spending, impose budget caps and force other offsets to federal programs. According to n4a, while the incoming Administration could use what are called “extraordinary measures” to avoid breaching the borrowing limit until the summer or fall, Congress must eventually act and it is unknown exactly how this Congress will approach increasing the debt ceiling. If lawmakers tie negotiations to spending on federal programs and require offsets, discretionary programs could take a funding hit.  

FY 2017-2018 Federal Funding – n4a’s forecast:

Federal funding debates for both the remainder of FY 17 and the new FY 18 measures will also be considered this spring. In December, Congress extended funding at FY 16 levels for all federal discretionary programs, including OAA and other aging programs, until April 28, 2017. The practice of extending current funding into the future is known as a continuing resolution (CR), and while it provides temporary assurance for federally funded programs, the process also prevents funding or policy changes proposed in appropriations bills from being adopted. By April 28, appropriators in Congress will have to decide whether to simply extend the existing CR through the remainder of FY 17, to take up the FY 17 funding bills (and any changes) that were proposed by the 114th Congress, or possibly but unlikely, to start the process over.   According to n4a, complicating these questions is the fact that Congress will also begin the process of crafting an FY 2018 budget resolution and subsequent appropriations bills this spring as well. Congress may take up the task of considering two separate fiscal years’ spending bills simultaneously or lawmakers may choose to spend their limited time focusing on funding proposals for FY 2018 and pass a CR for the remainder of FY 17.  

Changes to Medicaid and Medicare – n4a’s forecast:

Congressional leaders and the incoming Administration have floated significant structural changes to federal health care programs, Medicaid and possibly Medicare, as well as the federal tax code. FY 2018 budget reconciliation would provide the most unencumbered path to make these changes. According to n4a, Congress will likely use reconciliation of the FY 2017 budget first thing in January to repeal ACA, but that still leaves FY 2018 budget reconciliation as an option to move other controversial legislation later this year.   It is expected that proposals to significantly restructure Medicaid and the federal tax code will be introduced this summer. However, it is less certain whether Congress would also consider major structural changes to Medicare. According to n4a, establishing a block grant or per-capita cap system for Medicaid seems most likely, and President-Elect Trump’s nominees to lead both HHS and CMS have a track record of supporting such systems reforms. Either a block grant or per-capita cap could have major implications for Medicaid Long Term Services Supports beneficiaries.

  What Can Aging Advocates Do? It is more critical now more than ever that local aging advocates weigh in with lawmakers and stress the need to protect and adequately fund OAA programs. It is also critical that we keep up the drumbeat about the need for funding increases for OAA and other aging programs!

 

On the State Scene…. The Stop-Gap Budget Lapsed December 31, 2016.

 

The Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to be back in session (“Lame Duck Session”) on January 9 and 10, 2017 - two days before the next session is to be inaugurated on January 11, 2017. According to I4A’s Legislative Liaison, it is possible that something productive affecting the State’s budget could occur. During the “Lame Duck Session”, the vote requirement for a law to become effective immediately is reduced from a three-fifths to a simple majority. This presents an environment that is ripe for positive action. I4A is actively advocating for a budget resolution during this time.

Once the 100th General Assembly session commences, everything starts from the beginning. If there is some agreement on the budget, it will take time for the legislative process to allow appropriate action. One date of note - February 15th – which is the date of the Governor’s annual Budget Address.

100th General Assembly – New Representatives affecting PSA 05:

    • Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) is replacing Rep. Adam Brown (R-Champaign)

General Assembly Session Schedule/Deadline Dates

Relevant dates for the remainder of the 2016 and the 2017 legislative session:

    • "Lame Duck" January Session - January 9-1
    • January 10 – 99th General Assembly End
    • January 11 - 100th General Assembly Begin
    • January 25 - Governor's State of the State Addres
    • February 3 - Last day to request House Bills to be drafte
    • February 10 - Bill introduction deadline - House and Senat
    • February 15 - Governor's Budget Addres
    • March 17 - Senate Committee Deadlin
    • March 31 - House Committee Deadlin
    • April 10 - April 23 - Spring Brea
    • April 28 - 3rd Reading Deadline - House and Senat
    • May 12 - Senate Committee Deadline - House Bill
    • May 19 - House Committee Deadline - Senate Bill
    • May 26 - 3rd Reading Deadline - House and Senat
    • May 31 - Adjournment

 

Wishing everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!

SCR:sr

Get in touch

Location

ECIAAA
1003 Maple Hill Road
Bloomington, IL 61705-9327

Contact

Email: aginginfo@eciaaa.org
Phone: 309-829-2065
Fax: 309-829-6021

Opening hours

Mon-Fri: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Sat-Sun: CLOSED

Seniors

Seniors may call toll free:
Phone: 1-800-888-4456