Protect the elderly and people with disabilities

NAELA Part of 3,000 Organizations Fighting For a  Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction

Washington, D.C. — The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and 3,000 local, state, and national organizations delivered a letter to Congress, urging leaders to prevent sequestration by adopting a balanced approach to deficit reduction. NAELA joined forces with health, education, and public safety groups from across the country to fight for the common purpose of protecting all Americans from further cuts to nondefense discretionary programs (NDD).

NDD programs are provided for the benefit of all Americans. These programs support economic growth, strengthen safety and security, and enrich the lives of every American. In 2011, NDD spending represented less than one-fifth of the federal budget and 4.3 percent of our country’s GDP. The Budget Control Act calls for NDD programs to be cut to 2.8 percent of the GDP by 2021 – the lowest level seen in 50 years. Sequestration will result in even deeper cuts to NDD programs.

If Congress fails to take action before the sequestration scheduled for January 1, 2013, it could result in a $900 billion cut from NDD programs over ten years. The effects of sequestration do not discriminate based on party lines or location.

“Although Congress needs to address the deficit, sequestration is the wrong way to do it. It will cause fewer technological innovations, fewer teachers in classrooms, fewer first responders, and fewer programs for the elderly and people with disabilities,” said NAELA President Gregory French, CELA, CAP.

In addition, sequestration will result in a 2 percent cut on the provider side of Medicare. Hospitals will see cuts and could face a staggering reduction in inpatient hospital care. Medicare Advantage plans, physicians, nursing homes, and home health agencies will likely be trimmed. This could lead to a serious access to care issue for elderly patients, deter efforts to improve quality of care for seniors, and may even result in increased out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries.

To prevent such a devastating impact on the elderly and all Americans, NAELA is advocating for a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Congress must recognize that NDD programs have already played a role in cost-cutting and that it is now time to look beyond NDD programs for deficit reduction.

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