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My New Year’s Resolution List for Congress

Bob Blancato is the Executive Director of  National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP)

I believe New Year’s resolution lists can be extremely helpful. Making a list of resolutions allows you to set goals for the upcoming year to better yourself and those around you. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment when we’re able to check something off the list!

Likewise, it is important that Congress make a resolution list for 2018 to improve our nation and the lives of others. For those in government, we’ve already got a few ideas about what their goals should be in 2018. Check it out below!

  1. Repeal IPAB – IPAB was established by the Affordable Care Act to decrease Medicare spending if growth exceeds a certain target. If this happens, a board of 15 unelected officials are given a broad-range of authority to make decisions about cuts to Medicare spending. Such arbitrary cuts to Medicare are unacceptable, especially considering that these bureaucrats are unelected and in no way accountable to voters.

Medicare is extremely valuable to seniors like us who depend on the program for access to the medicine and health care services we need. But IPAB threatens to come between us and our doctors by making potentially drastic cuts to our Medicare. In fact, IPAB isn’t even required to maintain quality health care when making these cuts! In 2018, Congress should quickly repeal IPAB and ensure that seniors continue to have access to our doctors and coverage.

  1. Celebrate 15 years of Part D – This year marks the 15th anniversary of passage of this federal program which enjoys satisfaction ratings of nearly 90 percent by older adults, has come in under expected costs, maintained steady premiums, and improved the quality of life for seniors. Competition in the Part D marketplace has been one of the keys to its success, and this has allowed the program to provide access to affordable drug coverage while keeping costs low for older adults. The Part D program, which became law in 2003, needs to continue as it was adopted and Congress must protect it from changes that could undermine its structure and success.
  1. Protect U.S. consumers against counterfeit, substandard or unsafe medicines – Did you know in low- and middle-income countries 1 in 10 medical products is counterfeit? While it is important to ensure Americans have unfettered access to medications, it is equally as important to regulate the safety of them. Proposals to allow the importation of medicines, circumventing the robust safety standards we have in place here in the United States, could expose seniors to counterfeit or unsafe products. Though many argue importation of medicines could substantially reduce costs, the life-threatening consequences outweigh the benefits. In fact, the four former Food and Drug Administration commissioners sent a letter to members of Congress in opposition to drug importation proposals. Congress should oppose any proposals to allow drug importation.

What do you want to see on the government’s to-do list this year? Tell us in the comment section below.