The National Association for Home Care & Hospice has joined other likeminded organizations in writing a letter to leaders in Congress, urging them to fully fund programs that serve the nation’s elderly by not relying on continuing resolutions (CR), which do not increase and fail to meet the urgent needs of this vulnerable population.
Congress needs to enact omnibus Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations legislation by the time the current continuing resolution ends on February 18 that includes all 12 subcommittee bills. Our nation continues to face the economic, health, and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Relying on long-term CRs would result in flat and therefore inadequate funding, which in turn impedes the capacity of programs providing critical services to individuals across the country.
Federally-appropriated programs are essential to helping millions of older adults age with dignity, health, and independence. These discretionary programs include, but are not limited to, those provided by the Older Americans Act (OAA) and through the Administration for Community Living (ACL), falls prevention programs, initiatives and research that address chronic disease, workforce programs both for participating older adults and professionals providing care to them, AmeriCorps Seniors, person-centered trauma informed care, and HUD’s housing programs.
In order to sustain current services throughout FY 2022, these federally appropriated programs need year-over-year increases. Without increased funding, as the FY 2022 bills provide, the programs will not have sufficient resources to continue current programs, not to mention expanding their reach to help older adults during a pandemic that has overwhelmingly impacted them.
After a decade of appropriation caps and austerity for most annually funded programs, and with the compounding impacts of the pandemic, increased investment through an omnibus appropriations bill is a critical step to address existing shortfalls and improve and expand access to services for older adults and their caregivers. This, in turn, builds a stronger and more equitable American economy. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed deep inequities and brought to greater light our nation’s most at-risk older adults living in food, transportation, affordable housing, and health care deserts. If Congress fails to enact omnibus appropriations legislation, programs that are in desperate need of increased resources will be left with stagnant funding, restricting their ability to assist with recovery in communities and across the country.
We urge Congress to provide the highest level of funding for the programs and services that support older adults at levels that reflect the true and growing demographic and human need in communities across the country. Long-term continuing resolutions would fail to address these needs and impede recovery when our country needs it the most. We strongly urge you to enact omnibus appropriations legislation including all 12 appropriations bills as quickly as possible.