Dear NAGE Colleagues,
It has been a busy period for NAGE and our partners here in the Nation’s capital. I hope you were able to join us for our webinar on education and advocacy. We worked closely with the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA) and the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) on this comprehensive overview of our education and advocacy strategies for the 118th Congress.
If you didn’t have a chance to join us for the live webinar on March 9, 2023, please view it here: NAGE/AGS/EWA Advocacy Webinar Spring 2023 on Vimeo
The Advocacy Webinar Spring 2023 kicked off our advocacy week, March 13-17, 2023, where NAGE, EWA, and AGS staff joined NAGE members on calls with staff members of their Members of Congress (House and Senate). If you were not able to join us on those calls, please let us know if you are willing to participate in this advocacy, and we will work with you to schedule a call(s) or contact your Members of Congress by e-mail.
The March 9 webinar provides background on the current appropriations process and guidance for moving forward with your own advocacy to support the GWEP and GACA programs this year. Yes, the appropriations process follows a predictable – well, somewhat predictable – pattern each year – kind of like the seasons. And Spring is when we renew and reinvigorate our efforts to ensure funding for our treasured programs.
For each of us, this means contacting our elected officials – in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. (You can find your representatives by searching your zip code at House.gov and looking up your senators on Senate.gov). Call or write your representative\senators urging them to include in their request to the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee $82 million in the fiscal year 2024 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill for the geriatrics programs (GWEPs/GACAs) that train doctors, nurses, social workers, other health care professions, and family caregivers in specific information and techniques to provide health care and support to older adults.
For inspiration, read the new and excellent testimony submitted by Richard A. Marottoli, MD, MPH to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education, and Related Agencies on behalf of the Yale GWEP and NAGE (see attachment). NAGE is also coordinating with Stacy Barnes at Marquette University in Wisconsin and Katherine Bennett at the University of Washington GWEP to submit testimony (in the coming weeks) to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education. Feel free to share either or both of these documents during your advocacy.
NAGE Coalition Work
NAGE is part of several DC-based coalitions and recently supported their letters to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees; letters to the Hill from Friends of HRSA and the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) are attached. The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) is also developing a letter to Congress that will support GWEP/GACA funding. NAGE was recently accepted by the LCAO as a new member.
Your Voice is Key to Protecting Geriatric Education Programs!
For more information on Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations advocacy, please refer to the Advocacy Quick Guide and other resources at Geriatric Workforce Advocacy Tools.
President Biden Unveils Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2024
On March 9, 2023, President Biden stood before a familiar and supportive crowd at the Finishing Trades Institute in Philadelphia to describe the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget of the U.S. Government that he was sending to Congress that day. He took obvious pride in the budget, saying more than once, “It was an expression my dad would use. Show me your budget. I will tell you what you value.”
The $6.9 trillion budget request includes a 3.3% increase in defense spending and a 6.5% increase for nondefense discretionary programs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would see an 11.5% increase to its overall budget for a total request of $1.7 trillion. The budget proposes to increase taxes by $5.5 trillion and reduce the deficit by more than $2 trillion over the next 10 years. Yet, “No one earning less than $400,000 per year will pay a penny in new taxes.” As the president said, “I’m not going after any ordinary folks.”
- Of note is the funding of the Direct Care Workforce Demonstration at $8 million above last year’s enacted levels. This is an initiative to expand and stabilize the health care workers who are on the front lines of providing paid care for people in community and in nursing homes.
- The geriatric education budget under HRSA which houses the GWEP and GACA programs, is level funded at $47.245 million.
Please see my April policy column in Gerontology News for a full discussion of the president’s budget. For details about specific funding levels and justification, view:
- HRSA Budget Justification 2024 (starts on page 136);
- ACL Budget Tables;
- HHS Budget in Brief (ACL starts on page 135);
- White House Fact Sheet on the President’s Budget 2024, and
- An analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
NAGE Responds to Senate Request for Input
NAGE, in collaboration with the Northern New England GWEP at Dartmouth, submitted written comments in response to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) request for information on the national health workforce shortage and potential solutions. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) serves as Chair with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) as Ranking Minority Member (see attached HELP testimony).
Brian W. Lindberg, NAGE Public Policy Advisor