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New Threats to Services and Supports for Older Americans

“I’ve watched public policy affecting the nation’s older population wax and wane, but generally move in a progressive direction, often painfully incrementally but sometimes in a dramatic fashion,” says Bill Benson, a nationally known consultant on aging and health issues. “Now, with a new Administration under the leadership of President-elect Donald Trump, and a Republican-controlled Congress, there is great nervousness, if not downright terror, that many of the policy gains will be not only slowed but even entirely undone. While much of the attention will be focused on what may or may not happen with Medicare and Social Security, the giants of aging social policy, there is much, much more on the policy ‘table’ that is at risk and that will may affect millions of older Americans, today and in the future. Examples include Medicaid, the single most important source of long-term care services and supports financing, SSI, the Older Americans Act, the Elder Justice Act, the Social Services Block Grant, low-income senior housing, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and much more,” he says.

Bill Benson

Bill Benson

Bill Benson has served as the National Policy Advisor for the National Adult Protective Services Association since 1999. He is Managing Principal for Health Benefits ABCs (HBABCs), which offers health and aging policy, educational and strategic planning consulting services. Benson has worked on these issues for four decades, including in leadership positions in the U.S. Congress. He served in senior appointee positions at the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA), including as Acting Assistant Secretary for Aging. Earlier in his career he spent 10 years as California’s State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. For more than a decade, he has been a consultant to CDC’s Healthy Aging Program and worked on preventive services with SPARC and its Vote & Vax Initiative. HBABCs consults with three AoA resource centers, including the State Health Insurance Program, Senior Medicare Patrol, and Adult Protective Services. HBABCs provides qualitative measurement, strategic planning, facilitation services, and technical writing and conducts evaluations for national, state and local organizations.