Older Americans Act Bill Passes Senate with Key NCOA Priorities

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Vanessa Sink

Public Affairs Manager

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Today, the U.S. Senate took a much-needed step to support older adults by passing without opposition S. 192, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization of 2015, which funds critical services that keep our nation’s seniors healthy and independent. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) commends the Senate action and encourages the U.S. House of Representatives to work swiftly to pass similar legislation.

“This very welcome move by the Senate caps off a week of important discussions about what it means to age in America, including the July 13 White House Conference on Aging and the Older Americans Act’s 50th anniversary on July 14,” said Howard Bedlin, NCOA Vice President for Policy and Advocacy. “For 50 years, OAA services have helped older adults age with dignity. Today’s vote shows Americans of all ages that Democrats and Republicans in Congress can work together on important senior issues to strengthen and modernize the programs they rely on.”

S. 192 reflects several of NCOA’s priorities, including provisions that:

  • Offer new support for modernizing multipurpose senior centers
  • Highlight the importance of addressing economic needs
  • Require that health promotion and disease prevention initiatives be evidence-based
  • Promote chronic disease self-management and falls prevention

The bill also includes stronger elder justice and legal services provisions; needed clarity for caregiver support and Aging and Disability Resource Centers; and new opportunities for intergenerational shared sites.

Funding for OAA has not kept pace with inflation or demand, and sequester and other recent budget cuts have significantly eroded OAA support and increased waiting lists for services nationwide. NCOA is pleased that S. 192 preserves authorized funding levels, ensuring the ability to make key investments through 2018.

NCOA thanks Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for their leadership of the bipartisan legislation.

Learn more about the Older Americans Act at ncoa.org/OAA.

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.