Public Policy & Aging E-Newsletter
Volume 5, Number 5, September 2011
This bimonthly e-newsletter highlights key developments
and viewpoints in the field of aging policy from a wide variety
of sources, including articles and reports circulating in the media,
academy, think tanks, private sector, government and nonprofit organizations.
The goal of this email publication is to reach teachers, students,
and citizens interested in policy-relevant issues, especially those
who may not have easy access to policy information disseminated
both in Washington and around the country.
Want the most up-to-date access to aging policy resources?
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I. WHATS HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON?
A. Comparison of Medicare Provisions in Deficit and Debt Reduction
Proposals: Many of the debt-reduction plans being considered by
Congress and the Administration include proposals that would achieve
substantial savings or, depending on your view, necessitate significant
cuts, from the Medicare program over time. This side-by-side summary
compares the key Medicare provisions found in five major debt-reduction
plans put forward by the White House, Congress and independent,
bipartisan commissions. The summary also includes brief descriptions
of Medicare proposals in other deficit reduction proposals from
other think tanks and Congressional offices.
B. 2011 Long-Term Projections for Social Security: Social Security
is the federal government's largest single program. According to
the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), about 56 million people will
receive Social Security benefits in 2011. This CBO publication
provides information about long-term projections of the Social Security
program's finances during the 75-year period spanning 2011 to 2085,
and includes a demographic profile of those receiving benefits.
For a summary, click here.
C. Valuing the Invaluable: The Growing Contributions and Costs of
Family Caregiving: Family support is critical to remaining in one’s
home and in the community, but often comes at substantial costs
to caregivers themselves, to their families, and to society. This
updates national and individual state estimates of the economic
value of family caregiving using the most current available data.
In addition to estimating economic value of unpaid contributions,
the report also explains the contributions of family caregivers,
details the costs and consequences of providing family care, and
provides policy recommendations to support caregiving families.
II. WHATS HAPPENING AROUND THE COUNTRY?
A. The Uneven Aging and ‘Younging’ of America: State and Metropolitan
Trends in the 2010 Census: Using U.S. decennial censuses of 1990,
2000, and 2010, this Brookings Institution brief
explores national patterns of age-related growth and decline; state
and metropolitan variations in older and younger population shifts;
the geography of senior and soon-to-be senior populations; and city-suburban
shifts with an emphasis on the wide variation in aging and “younging”
patterns within the suburbs. The report concludes with some implications
of these shifts for age-related public policies and politics in
different parts of the country.
B. Modernizing the Older Americans Act: Based on findings from Idea
Forums conducted in six U.S. cities, this Age4Action report
provides recommendations for how the Older Americans Act can help
adults age 50+ who want to make contributions as dynamic advocates,
valued workers, committed volunteers, lifelong learners, and respected
leaders. The Forums drew more than 700 participants and used surveys,
testimonies, and discussions to produce many important findings
and promising ideas. For the executive summary, click here.
C. Proposed Models to Integrate Medicare and Medicaid Benefits for
Dual Eligibles: A Look at the 15 State Design Contracts Funded by
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services: This Kaiser Family Foundation
summarizes 15 states' preliminary proposals to better coordinate
care for people who are enrolled in both the Medicare and Medicaid
programs. The proposals are an outgrowth of new efforts under the
health reform law to develop service delivery and payment models
that integrate care for the nation’s nearly 9 million "dual eligibles,"
whose medical needs and health care costs typically exceed those
of other Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
III. THIS ISSUE'S MAJOR POLICY STORY: Employment and Older Adults
It is not by coincidence that my friend and colleague
Rob Hudson announces in this E-newsletter that a recent issue of
Public Policy & Aging Report focuses on the “uneven experiences
of older workers during the first decade of the 21st century.” Jobs
are on everyone’s mind. Should Washington try to stimulate the economy
by creating work in the public sector to shore up our infrastructure—or
to subsidize programs in the private sector to provide meaningful
opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed? How can we assist
men and women who have given up hope that they will ever find work
again? Are we prepared to write them off?
In the midst of such discussions, often but not often enough, pundits
and policymakers refer to the desires and needs of mature workers.
This has been a policy issue throughout postwar America. “We live
in a time when work is changing its meaning in fundamental ways
for people,” declared Eugene A. Friedmann and Robert J. Havighurst
in The Meaning of Work and Retirement, a study based primarily
on interviews with unskilled and semi-skilled steel workers. “Possibly
the generation now passing through adulthood will know better how
to replace their work with play when they come to retire” (University
of Chicago Press, 1954, pp. 1, 194). The parents of Baby Boomers
did indeed transform the meanings of work and retirement, creating
for themselves (thanks to pensions and access to health care) various
pathways to encore careers, leisure sites, novel lifestyles, and
options for late years that only the rich could entertain a few
decades earlier. Widespread affluence affords us all many choices;
hard times are sobering, even when the impact is uneven.
Given the volatility of the stock market since 2008, many Baby Boomers
find themselves rethinking their retirement plans. Some want to
stay on the job a few extra years, or they are exploring the feasibility
of working part-time. Others feel they have no choice but to remain
in the labor force. Ageism, disabilities, and family responsibilities
deter still other segments of this set of emerging elders from seeking
paid employment. As the pieces in this section underscore, “employment
and older adults” is a complex and timely subject. Its dimensions
are being transformed by economic insecurities, changing profiles
of job opportunities in the public and private sectors, as well
as the biases that women and people of color still face.
For those of you located in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area,
The Gerontological Society of America and Senior Service America,
Inc. invite you to attend a congressional briefing titled "Older
Workers: Multiple Returns on Our Public Investment." The event,
scheduled on September 16 from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in Dirksen Senate
Office Building room SD-G11, will focus on the plight of older workers,
particularly low-income and minority populations. Centered on the
findings from a recent Public Policy & Aging Report titled
“Older Workers: Problems and Prospects in an Aging Workforce” (Vol.
21, No. 1), the briefing will also include new data about the Senior
Community Service Employment Program and how recent funding cuts
will impact older workers. All interested individuals are encouraged
to attend this important event. Please RSVP to Dani Kaiserman at
email@example.com or (202) 587-2847.
A. Unemployment Statistics on Older Americans: While all Americans
are feeling the effects of the current economic climate, this recession
has caused an increase in joblessness among older Americans. The
older population can be particularly hard hit during periods of
unemployment because they typically take longer to re-enter the
workforce. These graphs
and tables from the Urban Institute report unemployment rates
and how they vary by age, sex, race, and education.
B. From Bad to Worse: Senior Economic Insecurity on the Rise: In
only four years, the number of seniors at risk of outliving their
resources increased by nearly 2 million households. Using the Senior
Financial Stability Index, this Institute on Assets and Social Policy
and Demos.org report
finds that economic insecurity among senior households has increased
by one-third, rising from 27 percent to 36 percent from 2004 to
2008. This steady and dramatic increase occurred even before the
full force of the Great Recession hit. With effects of the recession
impacting all demographic groups, economic security of seniors has
C. Employment and Earnings Among 50+ People of Color: The number
of people of color in the workforce will soar in coming decades
as the older population expands, grows more diverse, and works longer.
This Urban Institute brief
explores how these changes will impact different ethnic groups of
individuals. Findings include that African Americans and Hispanics
age 50 and older face substantial workplace challenges, such as
relatively low earnings, high unemployment, and limited access to
self-employment. Older Asians fare better, but still lag behind
their non-Hispanic white counterparts on many indicators.
D. What Is the Average Retirement Age?: This Center for Retirement
Research at Boston College brief
describes the historical long-run decline in labor force participation
of men and the turnaround that began in the mid-1980s. The brief
also discusses the trends for women, which combine their increasing
labor force activity, on the one hand, and incentives to retire,
on the other.
E. Selected Characteristics of Private and Public Sector Workers:
To deal with budget deficits, many policymakers are looking at the
pay and benefits of public sector employees as a way to reduce government
spending. This Congressional Research Service report
provides a comparison of selected characteristics—including age,
education, and occupation—of public and private sector workers.
Findings reveal that workers in the public sector are older, on
average, than private sector workers, and this difference has grown
over the years.
IV. WORTH NOTING
A. GSA to Host 64th Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston: GSA's
Public Policy Committee invites you to participate in our featured
Policy Series and other policy-related sessions. Policy sessions
include “Finding Your Voice: Advocacy Training for the Everyday
Researcher” and “Social Security--You Fix It!” View the preliminary
program for more information on the symposia included as part
of the policy series. You can attend these sessions by registering
for the Annual Scientific Meeting (November 18-22). Click here
for more information about the Annual Meeting and to register. Additionally,
GSA’s policy branch will host its third annual Aging
Means Business: Design for a New Age, a one-day conference that
will explore how strong design can successfully launch products
and services and set best practices.
B. GSA Organizes Advocacy Week: GSA is hosting Take
Action Week for our members to set-up district meetings with
their local congressional offices. The week will take place during
a district work period for Congress, from September 26-30. During
these meetings with congressional staff, GSA members are invited
to share their own research, and also advocate for a handful of
legislative issues related to aging research, particularly federal
funding levels. Join GSA's policy advisor for a special advocacy
on September 13 at 2 p.m. EDT.
C. Research Center on the Prevention of Financial Fraud: A new
initiative by the Stanford Center on Longevity and the FINRA
Investor Education Foundation is dedicated to furthering the understanding,
prevention, and detection of financial fraud, as well as connecting
interdisciplinary research to practical fraud-fighting efforts.
Against the backdrop of a rapidly aging population and the increasing
vulnerability of trillions of dollars, this new center aims to connect
research to policy, consolidate interdisciplinary research in an
online resource, and facilitate further study through research and
V. WHAT'S HAPPENING ABROAD?
A.Growing Older In Urban Environments: Perspectives from Japan
and the UK: Based on the contrasting experiences of Japan and the
UK, this International Longevity Centre-UK report
examines the relationship between population aging and urbanization.
The report focuses on the experiences of aging in urban environments,
developing ‘age-friendly’ communities, and future issues for policy
and research. A report summary is available here.
B. The Long-Term Care Workforce: Description and Perspectives: This
European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes report
provides a comparative analysis of the size and composition of the
long-term care workforce in four European countries – Germany, the
Netherlands, Spain, and Poland. Using a stock-flow cohort projection
model, the report illustrates the potential impact of demographic
trends on the future number and age structure of care workers.
C. World Report on Disability: This World Health Organization and
World Bank report
suggests that more than a billion people in the world today experience
disability. The report provides the best available evidence about
what works to overcome barriers to health care, rehabilitation,
education, employment, and support services. The report also gives
a set of recommendations for governments and their partners on how
to create the environments which will enable people with disabilities
VI. PERSPECTIVES ON POLICY: ROB HUDSON, EDITOR, PP&AR
A recent issue of Public Policy & Aging Report (Volume
21, Number 1) explores the uneven experiences of older workers
during the first decade of the 21st century due to macro-level economic
circumstances and well-known population characteristics. The articles
discuss macro-level economic circumstances and well-known population
characteristics of older adults that disentangle the employment
experiences of today's older workers. Bob Harootyan and Tony Sarmiento
provide a historical context, addressing aggregate trends in labor
force participation (LFP), the roles of gender and education in
determining those rates, employer attitudes toward older workers,
and public policy shortcomings in improving employment prospects.
Neeta Fogg and Paul Harrington investigate the odd juxtaposition
of relatively high demand for older workers during this decade against
high rates of unemployment among them. Next, Andrew Sum, Ishwar
Khatiwada, and Mykhaylo Trubskyy turn attention to the especially
problematic experiences of low-income older workers. Unemployment
among these workers rose sharply during the decade, notably among
women, minorities, high school drop-outs, the unmarried, and very
old workers. Carl Van Horn, Nicole Corre, and Maria Heidkamp buttress
these findings through survey data gathered at the Heldrich Center
at Rutgers, examining the fate of the long-term unemployed. Sara
Rix's article focuses on the aging baby boomer cohort, reviewing
the likelihood of their remaining in the labor force at older ages
and why that may be the case. Finally, Judith Gonyea and I review
the legislative and administrative history of the Senior Community
Service Employment program (SCSEP) that emerged as part of the Great
Society and now constitutes Title V of the Older Americans Act.
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Newsletter Editors: Dani Kaiserman, Sarah F. Wilson, and Greg O'Neill,
National Academy on an Aging Society; Andy Achenbaum, University
The Public Policy and Aging E-Newsletter is supported in part
by a grant from the AARP Office of Academic Affairs. The
views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those
of The Gerontological Society of America, the National Academy on
an Aging Society, or the AARP Office of Academic Affairs.
© Copyright 2011; all rights reserved.