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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

Want to Influence Policy? Join AARP’s Advisory Council

Posted on 02/13/2014 by | Senior Strategic Policy Advisor | Comments

Public Policy InstituteAARP members with policy experience should consider applying for our all-volunteer National Policy Council (NPC), which serves as an advisory body to the AARP Board of Directors, which sets AARP policies. Becoming a member of the NPC requires more than policy expertise. Members attend NPC meetings in person at least four times in Washington or around the country. NPC members also participate in webinars and conference calls throughout the year and prepare for these by reading substantial amounts of information …

The New Federal Rule on Home- and Community-Based Services: All Eyes on the States

Posted on 02/12/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy InstituteThe U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently took an important step toward helping low-income people with disabilities. In January, CMS issued a final rule [CMS-2249-F/CMS-2296-F] giving states new flexibility and responsibilities for using Medicaid dollars to pay for home- and community-based services (HCBS). The rule — which should help Medicaid recipients overcome fragmented systems of care and limited options for living in the community — is likely to affect states in three significant ways. New Definition of …

What Personal Information Is Your Mobile Device Sharing?

Posted on 02/12/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy Institute | Technology“Always on and always on you” describes the extent to which consumers have integrated cellphones, smartphones and tablets into their daily lives. How deeply do consumers depend on these mobile devices? One survey found 44 percent of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they were afraid to miss any calls, text messages or other updates during the night. As mobile device use continues to increase, there is growing concern that consumers are unaware how …

Rising Propane Prices, Shortages Add to Winter Woes

Posted on 01/30/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Money & Savings | Public Policy InstitutePersistent record-setting low temperatures across much of the United States are making this a tough winter for many families. Households face higher heating bills as prices for heating fuels continue to increase with rising demand sparked by the cold. Price increases for liquid propane have been significant. The Department of Energy estimates that 6 million households, mostly in the Midwest and Northeast, use propane as their primary source of heating fuel. Low inventories and high demand for the fuel have …

Are You in the Hospital or Not?

Posted on 01/27/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Money & Savings | Personal Health | Public Policy InstituteIf you think you are having a stroke, you’ll probably go to the nearest ER. But will the hospital admit you? After you have been checked into the ER, the doctor may instead put you under “observation,” especially if it is unclear whether you have had a stroke, a fainting spell or something else. What is observation status? It’s an outpatient designation used to monitor patients during periods of medical uncertainty. Rather than being formally admitted as inpatients, patients in …

Community Digs Deep for Superfast Broadband

Posted on 01/22/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy Institute | TechnologyFrustration with sluggish, expensive or unavailable broadband has prompted a growing number of communities to find other options. Some 89 cities and towns in the U.S. have launched their own fiber-to-the-home networks, which many experts say is the fastest and most reliable way to access the Internet. The result: Places such as Chattanooga, Tenn., Bristol, Va., and Lafayette, La., now offer Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second,  or about 100 times faster than today’s average broadband speeds. …