Senator Bernie Sanders Leads Effort to Support Seniors Program

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–March 18, 2016 – Sen. Bernie Sanders was joined by 30 senators this week in calling for a significant funding increase for Older Americans Act programs such as Meals on Wheels in order to keep up with the needs of a growing population of seniors.

In the letter, the senators said a minimum 12 percent increase would be an important step toward meeting existing demand, addressing rising costs and responding to historic growth in the number of seniors over the past decade.

There are now more than 65 million Americans over age 60 and some 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that these trends will continue for the next few decades, and by 2030, the number of Americans age 60 and over will increase to 92 million.

While funding for non-defense programs has risen by 11 percent since 2009, Older Americans Act funding has dropped 7 percent over that same time.

“Regretfully, federal funding for OAA programs has failed to keep pace with inflation or the growing need, despite the cost-effectiveness of these critical programs. There are few better investments than the OAA programs that millions of older adults rely on for a healthy and dignified life. Investing in OAA services saves taxpayer dollars by reducing premature and costly Medicare and Medicaid expenditures resulting from unnecessary nursing home placement or hospitalizations due to poor nutrition and chronic health conditions,” the senators wrote in the letter to Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chairman and ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee.

In addition to Sanders, the letter was signed by Sens. Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Stabenow (D-Mich.), Casey (D-Pa.), Warren (D-Mass.), Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Nelson (D-Fla.), Leahy (D-Vt.), Shaheen (D-N.H.), Schatz (D-Hawaii), Peters (D-Mich.), Baldwin (D-Wis.), Schumer (D-N.Y.), Booker (D-N.J.), Franken (D-Minn.), Bennet (D-Co.), Hirono (D-Hawaii), Wyden (D-Ore.), Manchin (D-W.Va.), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), King (D-Maine), Brown (D-Ohio), Markey (D-Mass.), Boxer (D-Calif.), Kaine (D-Va.), Reed (D-R.I.), Murphy (D-Conn.), Menendez (D-N.J.), Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Merkley (D-Ore.)

To read the letter, click here.