The 2015 White House Conference on Aging: Agenda Setting and Issue Framing

Source: Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 25 Issue 2, Spring 2015

From the introduction:
White House Conferences on Aging, held roughly every 10 years since 1961, have “generated ideas and momentum prompting the establishment of and/or key improvements in … programs that represent America’s commitment to older Americans” (The White House, 2015a). In terms of economic security, notably, the 1961 conference gave a push to the enactment of Medicare by recommending the provision of medical care for the aged through Social Security (Senate Special Committee on Aging, 1961). In 1971, President Nixon advocated inflation-proofing Social Security benefits, saying “It does not make sense to have … benefits constantly behind inflation” (Nixon, 1971), language backed-up when he signed the 1972 amendments to the Social Security Act implementing automatic cost of living adjustments (the “COLA”). While unlikely that this year’s conference will see the fruits of its labor enacted into sweeping policy change in the near term, it could play an important agenda-setting role for future congresses and presidents if conference planners and delegates:
• Explicitly reject the “entitlement crisis frame” and language;
• Advance the intergenerational understanding of Social Security;
• Highlight economic insecurity among today’s seniors
• Sound the alarm on the looming retirement income crisis;
• Consider benefit increases in Social Security as a critical option….

Articles include:
The 2015 White House Conference on Aging: Agenda Setting and Issue Framing
Robert B. Hudson

Optimizing Health in Aging Societies
Laura L. Carstensen, Mary E. Rosenberger, Ken Smith, and Sepideh Modrek

Healthy Aging and Age-Friendly Community Initiatives
Emily A. Greenfield

Advancing a Retirement Income Security Agenda for All Generations
Eric R. Kingson and Molly W. Checksfield

How Administrative Burdens Are Preventing Access to Critical Income Supports for Older Adults: The Case of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Pamela Herd

Long-term Services and Supports (LTSS): A Growing Challenge for an Aging America
Kali S. Thomas and Robert Applebaum

Fulfilling the Promise of the Elder Justice Act: Priority Goals for the White House Conference on Aging
Daniel B. Kaplan and Karl Pillemer

Editor’s choice: Unsolved Mysteries in Aging Policy
Debra Bailey Whitman