Two House bills recently passed

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    By Kay Kaylor
    PREVIEW Columnist
    For San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA), I am not only a part-time long-term care ombudsman, advocating for residents at Pine Ridge, a 24-hour extended care home, and BeeHive, an assisted living residence. I also am an aging and disability resource specialist and Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) and State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselor.
    Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.
    The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed two bills relevant to elders. Both bills will need to go before the Senate and to be signed by the president.
    First, it passed the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (HR3). The bill authorizes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to negotiate prices for specific drugs, including insulin products and at least 25 single-source brand name drugs. The savings would be used to include dental, vision and hearing benefits in an expanded Medicare, according to Justice in Aging. It also makes additional changes to Medicare drug coverage and pricing, such as reducing the out-of-pocket spending threshold.
    The House also approved a $350 million Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding increase and $10 million to implement the BOLD (Building Our Largest Dementia) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. The act supports regional centers to address Alzheimer’s and dementia, such as through public awareness campaigns, and data collection on these conditions.
    SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call me at 264-0501, ext. 1 or send an email to adrc@sjbaaa.org.