Planning Kicks Off for White House Conference on
Note: The White House yesterday
held its first meeting to begin preparing for the White House Conference on Aging, which
will take place in 2015 – the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid,
and the Older American Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social
Security. Below is a blog posting about the event by Cecilia Muñoz.
Horizon: The 2015 White House Conference on Aging
Blog by Cecilia Muñoz,
Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
29, 2014 - Today at the White House, I was delighted to host a
roundtable discussion with leaders from across the aging community who
came together to discuss the White House Conference on Aging, which will
take place in 2015 – the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the
Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security.
Just yesterday, the Medicare
Trustees released their annual report finding that, since their report
last year, the life of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended by
four additional years to 2030.
When this Administration first took office, the Trust Fund was projected
to go bankrupt more than a dozen years sooner, in 2017. The Trustees
also project that – for the second year in a row – Part B premiums will
not increase, allowing seniors to keep more of their Social Security
Thanks in part to the Affordable
Care Act, we have improved the affordability of the program, while at
the same time helping Medicare work better for seniors. For example, we
are closing the prescription drug coverage gap or “donut hole” to make
medications more affordable for Medicare beneficiaries. Just today, we
8.2 million seniors and people with
disabilities saved $11.5 billion since 2010 – over $1,000 on
average for people hitting the donut hole. Additionally, Medicare now
provides coverage without cost-sharing for many preventive benefits to
help keep older Americans healthy. The Affordable Care Act also responds
to older Americans’ desire to remain independent in their communities by
creating incentives for states to provide the services and supports that
help people remain at home as they age.
The President has consistently
focused on the importance of both health and financial security in
retirement. He continues to work to protect and strengthen Social
Security to help ensure that all older Americans can retire with
dignity. And he is focused on expanding the retirement savings tools
available to working Americans to ensure that they can prepare for the
years ahead, including
the new “starter” retirement savings
account called myRA to help millions of Americans save for
retirement in a simpler way.
The 2015 White House Conference on
Aging is an opportunity to look ahead to the issues that will help shape
the landscape for older Americans for the next decade. As we listen to
aging leaders and older Americans, some of the common themes we hear
include the following:
• Retirement security is a
vitally important issue. Financial security
in retirement provides essential peace of mind for older Americans, but
requires attention during our working lives to ensure that we are well
prepared for retirement.
• Long-term services and
supports remain a priority. Older Americans
overwhelmingly prefer to remain independent in the community as they
age. They need supports to do so, including a caregiving network and
• Healthy aging will be all
the more important as baby boomers age. As
medical advances progress, the opportunities for older Americans to
maintain their health and vitality should progress as well.
• Seniors, particularly the
oldest older Americans, can be vulnerable to financial exploitation,
abuse, and neglect. The Elder Justice Act was
enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, and we need to realize its
vision of protecting seniors from scam artists and others seeking to
take advantage of them.
We are delighted to announce that
Nora Super will be leading this effort as the newly named Executive
Director of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. She brings both
substantive expertise on the issues and the experience to help maximize
our outreach and engagement with older Americans across the country. We
also will launch
WhiteHouseConferenceOnAging.gov as the official site for the
conference this summer.
We intend to use the year ahead to
be as creative as possible about using new technology, agencies’
regional offices, partners, and other strategies to engage directly with
older Americans and stakeholders on these issues. We are looking forward
not only to the Conference, but to a year of engagement and dialogue
about older Americans’ issues and the opportunity to celebrate all that
older Americans continue to contribute to our country.
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