June 19, 2013
The Honorable Bernard Sanders, Chairman
Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Sanders:
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to endorse your bill, S. 1028, the “Older Americans Act Amendments of 2013.” It is our hope that Congress will act on this important and long-overdue reauthorization and that it will receive bipartisan support during the 113th Congress.
Your legislation builds on the core programs of the Older Americans Act (OAA) – an array of home and community-based services – which make it possible for older adults to remain as independent as possible. In addition, OAA services help seniors avoid hospitalization and nursing home care, and, as a result, save federal and state funds that otherwise would be spent on such care. We support increased funding for these programs to meet the needs of seniors and their caregivers and to compensate for the lack of adequate funding over past years, a funding shortfall that is aggravated by the sequester enacted as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011.
The National Committee strongly supports the requirement in S. 1028 for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to revise and improve the Experimental Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). The CPI-E more accurately reflects the expenses faced by today’s seniors. Currently, Social Security benefit payments are adjusted by the Consumer Price Index for Workers (CPI-W). However, the CPI-W does not account for the higher rates of inflation experienced by seniors who must devote a larger share of their income to health care and energy costs, which have generally risen more rapidly in price than other items. Adopting the CPI-E as the measure for calculating the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) would help ensure economic security for beneficiaries as they age.
Thank you for your leadership on reauthorizing the Older Americans Act. We look forward to continuing to work with you to improve the Act’s programs, which are so vital to seniors and their families, to target them to individuals with the greatest economic and social needs and to secure adequate funding to meet the challenges presented by our growing elderly population.
President and CEO