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Public Policy Institute

The Public Policy Institute informs and stimulates public debate on the issues we face as we age. The Institute promotes development of policies to address our common need for economic security, health care, and quality of life.

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Recent Public Policy InstitutePosts

FTC Raises Concerns About Efforts to Blunt Rx Competition

Posted on 04/10/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy InstituteBiologic drugs are often used to treat health conditions that affect older populations — diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Derived from living organisms, biologics have an estimated average cost of $35,000 a year, which is far more than that of traditional, chemically derived drugs. Congress recently granted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to approve less expensive generic versions of biologic drugs, known as biosimilars or follow-on biologics. But while the FDA continues to work …

Spending on Cell Phone Service Increasing for Older Consumers

Posted on 04/9/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Money & Savings | Public Policy InstituteCell phones have become ubiquitous—90 percent of adult Americans now own one—and that has impacted overall spending patterns for telephone service. Analysis of the latest federal Consumer Expenditure Survey finds that spending on cell phone service by consumers aged 50+ is continuing to increase while spending on traditional residential landline service is decreasing. Spending by consumers aged 50+ on telephone service grew in 2012, even as overall spending for utilities fell. A PPI analysis of expenditures on utilities by consumers …

Where Are All the Workers Going?

Posted on 03/6/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy InstituteNo doubt about it: Americans are pushing back retirement, either because they can’t afford to quit working or they don’t care to do so. For some, it is a bit of both. Labor force participation rates have been rising at older ages, even among people in their 70s, and they are projected to continue increasing. This is good news for workers, giving them more time to save for retirement and fewer retirement years to finance. It’s also good for employers …

Setting the Pace for Identifying Family Caregiver Needs in Home- and Community-Based Services

Posted on 03/5/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy InstituteThe times, they are a-changing. Consumers and their family members are applauding a final rule for Medicaid home- and community-based services (HCBS) programs released last month by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). For the first time, CMS has formally recognized the importance of assessing the needs of family caregivers through new requirements for “person-centered care planning.” This is a huge step forward. Because family caregivers are a core part of health care and long-term care, experts have …

Temperatures Plunge While Heating Bills Soar

Posted on 02/26/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Money & Savings | Public Policy InstituteThis winter millions of Americans reluctantly became acquainted with the term “polar vortex” and the substantial impact it will have on their home heating bills. The 2013-14 winter has been notable for the repeated onslaught of bitterly cold Arctic air masses bringing waves of below-normal temperatures to the country’s Midwest, South and East. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that through January the average number of heating degree days has been 12 percent higher compared to the previous winter. Not surprisingly, …

There’s No Place Like Home — But How Do You Define It?

Posted on 02/21/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy InstituteHow would you describe what “home” means to you? When do you feel most engaged in a “community”? If you struggle to answer those questions, imagine a federal agency trying to define what “home” and “community” mean for the purposes of important public benefits. That is essentially the task that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) set for itself several years ago as it began the long path to its recently released rule related to home- and community-based …