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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

Cost Barriers Persist for Colonoscopy Screening In Medicare

Posted on 01/15/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Personal Health | Public Policy InstituteThousands of people in the United States die every year from colorectal cancer—cancer of the colon or rectum. That’s astonishing because colorectal cancer is almost entirely preventable by use of recommended screening tests. Yet, in 2008, less than two-thirds of all people ages 65 and older had the screening. Medicare pays for several types of screening tests, including colonoscopy which is considered the best test for early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy allows for removal of polyps and …

Improving the Odds for 9 Million Uninsured Adults Ages 50-64

Posted on 01/8/2014 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy InstituteAmid all the criticism of and Obamacare these days, it’s easy to forget that a key goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to help people get coverage. For people who are uninsured or underinsured, a major accident or illness is more than a health crisis; it’s a potential financial disaster. In 2012, 9 million people ages 50 through 64 were uninsured. For these individuals, the Affordable Care Act offers new opportunities for coverage and will help some …

Talents Can Transform Your Life and the World

Posted on 12/17/2013 by | Public Policy | Comments

Public Policy InstituteIn the movie A Bronx Tale, Robert De Niro plays a father who declares that wasted talent is “the saddest thing in life.” Those words ring true for me on a lot of levels. As an economist I view older Americans as an undervalued asset, too often denied the chance to use talents honed over a lifetime. As a policy wonk and advocate, I look for strategies that can help people live rewarding lives and that remove obstacles in their …

Easing the Burdens on Family Caregivers: Are We Listening to Their Needs?

Posted on 12/9/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy InstituteFamily caregivers wear many hats. They help their loved ones cope with the bewildering complexity and fragmentation of the long-term services and supports (LTSS) system. They often provide daily care, such as help with bathing or dressing, providing transportation to medical appointments, handling bills, preparing special diets, or managing multiple complex medications. They often do these tasks on top of other work and family responsibilities. But who is listening to them? How are they coping? It is time to think …

States Can Smooth the Transition from Medicaid to Medicare

Posted on 11/21/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy InstituteThe Affordable Care Act (ACA) created an additional set of rules governing Medicaid eligibility. These new rules and the traditional rules interact in ways that can significantly affect low-income Medicare beneficiaries. States need to understand what’s at stake. The ACA makes it easier for low-income individuals to qualify for Medicaid by using much simpler rules for counting income, called the modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) rules. People who qualify for the Medicaid expansion under the ACA are referred to as …

Not Enough Households Staying Warm With LIHEAP

Posted on 11/21/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Public Policy InstituteLow-income households often face challenges in keeping pace with rising energy costs. A recent study shows that despite federal assistance amounting to $3.4 billion, in the winter of 2011-12 low-income households were left struggling to pay $35.1 billion in energy costs. The federal government helps eligible low-income households maintain adequate energy mainly through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP serves to protect eligible families by helping keep their homes warm during winter and cool during summer. Although …