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Advocacy - What is it? Find Your Legislator

Advocacy is a core function of the ADRC of Brown County's mission, mandated by the Federal and State authority. ADRC is charged with both advocating on behalf of older adults, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers, as well as empowering them to advocate for themselves. This webpage will help you make informed decisions by providing information from a variety of aging and disability networks, both statewide and national.

Trump Budget Cuts Risk the Independence, Economic Security, Safety of Seniors

Three advocacy organizations that support seniors submitted a press release urging people to "Tell Congress to Say NO to: Trump budget cuts that risk the independence, economic security, and safety of seniors."
Click this Advocating for Seniors: Tell Congress to Say No link to read the full press release.

President Trump's budget eliminates many key federal programs that provide funding to state and local efforts to support older adults.
  • Proposes elimination of the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) SHIP funds in Wisconsin support the Medigap Hotline, face-to-face benefits counseling at local aging units and ADRC, support volunteers who contributed over 5,300 hours to SHIP agencies to name just a few.
  • Elimination of Community Services Block Grant, Social Services Block Grant, Community Development Block Grant - often used to supplement and support the work of the Aging network
  • Elimination of the Senior Corps programs (RSVP, Foster Grandparents, and Senior Companion) Wisconsin has 7,700 Senior Corps volunteers. Of these Foster Grandparents tutored 4,500 young people, RSVP volunteers provided service to 720 local organizations, and Senior Companions helped 460 homebound seniors.
  • Proposes zeroing out funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program LIHEAP helps low-income households and families, including older adults, with heating and energy bills.
  • Cuts Medicaid by $610 Billion over 10 years which will effect the ability for low income seniors and disabled adults to get healthcare and the care they need to remain in the community and out of expensive institutional care.
Click here for more responses by AARP and NCOA organizations regarding the new version of the American Health Care Act.

Straight Talk for Seniors:
The Senate Health Care Bill
by Howard Bedlin

Great article short easy to read providing an analysis of how the proposed Senate Health Care bill, the Beter Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) would affect seniors. Click to this NCOA article link.

Medicaid Changes Approved by U.S. House are a Threat to Wisconsin's Long Term Care System

The Wisconsin Long-Term Care Coalition Co-Chairs Lynn Breedlove and Tom Frazier released a statement outlining their "concern about the $839 billion Medicaid funding cut approved by the U.S. House of Representatives" as a result of passing the lastest version of the American Health Care Act.

Mr. Breedlove states, "Cuts of this magnitude will jeopardize the health of more than 1 million Wisconsinites who use Medicaid, including the 60,000 older adults and people with disabilities and more than 6,000 children with disabilities who use Family Care, IRIS, and the Children's Long Term Support Program."

Read the full statement at this Wisconsin Long-Term Care Coalition Medicaid Changes Threat link.

Organizations Voice Concerns over Revised American Health Care Act

AARP Opposes Revised American Health Care Act Passed by House

AARP posted an article by David Frank to explain their concern regarding the Amercian Health Care Act bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 4, 2017. Mr Frank states, "The U.S. House of Representatives voted by a narrow margin today to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a bill that would permit discrimination against people with preexisting health conditions, substantially increase insurance premiums for older adults, result in millions of people losing coverage, and worsen the fiscal health of Medicare."

Read the full letter by clicking this AARP Article Opposing the American Health Care Act link.

Statement on the House Passage of the American Health Care Act

NCOA Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy, Howard Bedlin issued a statement on the American Health Care Act. "Today (May 4, 2017), the House of Representatives chose to pass the AHCA - the first step in dismantling the protections and access to health insurance provided by Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act." "We hope the Senate will reject the devastating effects the AHCA will have on too many Americans. In addition to making health insurance unrealistically expensive for older Americans and others with pre-existing conditions, the AHCA dismantles Medicaid for our most vulnerable citizens, weakens the Medicare Trust Fund, and repeals cost-effective prevention and home care programs."

Read the full statement at this NCOA Statement on the American Health Care Act link.

Facts about How the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Impacts Medicare Beneficiaries
& What Beneficiaries Could Lose if it's Repealed

Congress is currently looking at repealing The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as "Obamacare". The ADRC has compiled a fact sheet (click the link here or in the title above to read it) to help you understand what this could mean to persons on Medicare (beneficiaries). Read below for information that other aging network organizations have put together that would also be helpful to you.

MISSION: The Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs and public policy initiatives.

The Medicare Rights Center has issues a series of "Issue Briefs" that discuss the debates regarding health care and Medicare and how the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) interacts with and supports the Medicare program.

Medicare Rights Blog: Kaiser Foundation Issue Brief Provides Clarity About Medicare's Financial Outlook. Lots of information here about Medicare's financial outlook and a side by side comparison of Affordable Care Act repeal plans and how they may impact Medicare.

This Medicare Rights Center Issue Briefs link will take you to their website to read these briefs and learn more. They update them regularly.

Advocacy Alert Save Medicare


Most everyone is likely familiar with President Trump's campaign promise to "repeal and replace Obamacare" (The Affordable Care Act). He also promised during the campaign not to cut Social Security and Medicare.

What you may not know, however is that Speaker Paul Ryan's "Better Way" health care plan not only repeals Obamacare, but gradually replaces Medicare with a "premium support" or voucher plan. The nomination of Tom Price from Georgia as Secretary of Health and Human Services is another indication that Medicare is in danger as he has been a proponent of Ryan's Medicare plan.

Speaker Ryan's Plan for Medicare

The major components of Ryan's plan are as follows:
  • Changing Medicare to a "premium support" model where beneficiaries are given a voucher to purchase insurance from private for profit companies in the market at market prices.
  • Depending on the plans cost, Medicare beneficiaries are given "premium support to pay or offset the premium" any additional cost is left to the beneficiaries to make up.
  • Premium support payments would be adjusted based on worsening health conditions and low-income these beneficiaries would receive additional assistance; wealthier seniors would assume responsibility for a greater share of their premiums.
  • "Strengthen Medicare Advantage" plans (private Medicare HMOs)
  • "Gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age begining in 2020 to correspond with that of Social Security".
Issues and Concerns
  • President Trump promised not to cut Medicare. Is he reneging on that promise?
  • Medicare is more efficient than private insurance because there are not large sums spent on overhead, marketing, and profits. Since 2010, Medicare outlays per beneficiary have risen only 1.4% a year, less than the rate of inflation.
  • Will the repeal of Obamacare bring a halt to the phase out of the "Donut Hole" that is scheduled to end by 2020? Will the free wellness and preventive services approved as a part of Obamacare end? (The "Donut Hole" is the point each year where beneficiaries begin to have to pay out of pocket for their drugs.)
  • Obamacare extended the solvency of Medicare by more than a decade to 2029. Will repeal shorten that timeline and create greater urgency to "reform" Medicare?
  • Part D may not be the best model for affordability through market-based competition. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices would be more effective.
  • Basing premiums on sickness and income could erode the wide spread public support for Medicare by making it a "welfare program".
  • Medicare Advantage plans already enroll 32% of Medicare beneficiaries and that is scheduled to increase to 44% by 2016 according to the Congressional Budget Office. This, in spite of the $150 million cut made to the program because these plans have proven to be more costly than traditional Medicare. More investment in Medicare Advantage plans is not needed.
  • It is generally accepted that premium supports will not keep pace with health care inflation so that out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries will increase every year. For example, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities projected that out-of-pocket costs would more than double by 2022 if Ryan's 2011 premium support proposal was adopted.
  • Increasing the age of eligibility would hurt those who are most vulnerable-the poor and the sick.

NCOA Straight Talk for Seniors

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a nonprofit organization that for more than 65 years has made improving the lives of older adults their passion and mission.

Advocacy is a big part of their mission. With a new Administration and Congress expressing interest in changing policies important to seniors the organization has developed a website to help older Americans, their families, and professionals stay on top of issues involving the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, Medicare, and the Older Americans Act (OAA).

It is a great source to help you stay informed so that you can express your wants and needs to your elected representative. Go to this link to learn more:

AARP Real Possibilities

Special AARP Report Why Medicare Matters is in response to the legislatures proposals to make changes to Medicare and the many members writing to AARP worried about what might happen to Medicare the health care program they depend on.

Robert Love, AARP Bulletin editor in chief states, "At AARP, we continue to believe passionately in this program, which has allowed our citizens to age with dignity. In this special report, we detail what the state of Medicare is today and provide what you need to know about the upcoming debate in Washington over the nation's most important health care program." It has valuable information to help you talk to your representative about how important Medicare is to you.

Other Advocacy Groups and Information


  • AARP
    Advocacy page from AARP website. Up to date news and articles of interest to seniors. Links to federal and individual state issues and on-line tools for you to use to let your legislator know how you feel.

  • Administration on Aging
    Federal agency whose mission is to develop a comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective system of home and community-based services that helps elderly individuals maintain their health and independence in their homes and communities. News and information about elder rights, health and prevention, home and community-based long-term care and much more.

  • Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups CWAG
    The Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups CWAG is a non-profit, nonpartisan state-wide membership organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people of all ages through: intergenerational understanding and leadership development, public education, legal and legislative advocacy and public policy development.

  • N4a Advocacy in Action Center
    Advocates for services and resources for older adults and persons with disabilities. Information on issues, legislation, position papers and ideas. Topics include Older American's Act Reauthorization, enhancing the health and well being of older Americans, and livable communities.

Disability & Health

  • Disability Advocates Wisconsin Network DAWN
    Grassroots organization that focuses on the most important issues affecting all people with disabilities, their families, friends, and service providers. Up-to-date information on issues, practical tools to put into action, and with training resources, including video and on-line courses.

  • Disability Rights Wisconsin DRW
    A private non-profit organization that helps disabled persons of all ages. DRW helps people across Wisconsin gain access to services and opportunities through its advocacy and legal expertise.

  • Disability*Gov
    Information network of disability-related programs, services, laws and benefits. Connections resources from federal, state and local government agencies, educational institutions and non-profit organizations. New resources are added daily across 10 main subject areas – benefits, civil rights, community life, education, emergency preparedness, employment, health, housing, technology and transportation.

  • Family Voices of Wisconsin
    Family Voices of Wisconsin is a state-wide network of families who have children and youth with special health care needs and/or disabilities and those who work on their behalf. Provides information, training and leadership opportunities. Works to inform and educate health care providers and local, state and national policy makers and administrators about issues.

  • Information & Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities
    Listing: Organizations that assist persons with disabilities and their families in finding services, assistive technology, and support groups in addition to providing education and advocacy on disability related issues and so much more.

  • Kaiser Family Foundation Medicare & Medicaid Advocacy
    Non-profit foundation provides policy analysis and research on health issues. News and information about health policy and develops and runs public information campaigns.

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI
    National organization with local chapters, there is one in Brown County, WI. Provides education, information, advocacy and more. Keep up to date with legislative issues, suscribe to the NAMI Advocacy magazine.

  • Office of Disability Employment Policy Federal
    The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides national leadership on disability employment. Information for employers, employees and job seekers. Advocates for employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

  • Waisman Center
    The Waisman Center provides clinical care through 12 specialty clinics across the state through a collaborative partnership with the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinic systems. The center provides full, detailed early assessments and evaluations of children with developmental disabilities. In addition, the Waisman Center conducts research, has training opportunities for students and the surrounding communities, services for individuals and families of those with developmental disabilities, and outreach into the community.

  • WI Family Assistance Center for Education Training and Support WIFACETS

  • Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities
    Advocates on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities, foster welcoming and inclusive communities and improve the disability services system.

  • Wisconsin Council on Physical Disabilities
    A state council created to make recommendations to state agencies on legislation, promote public awareness of and barriers to persons with disabilities and encourage development of programs and policies that prevent physical disabilities. The website provides links to citizen advocacy, civil rights and disability specific resources and services providers.

General Issues

  • Wisconsin Eye
    State-of-the-art robotic cameras in the Capitol produce gavel-to-gavel, unedited coverage of state proceedings, both live and archived video.

  • League of Women Voters WI
    A nonpartisan organization working to encourage active and informed participation in government. Information on and position papers on federal, state and local issues.

  • United States House of Representatives
    Official site of the US House of Representatives. Historical and visitor information. Current session schedule, floor proceedings, votes, bills and reports.

  • United States Senate
    Offical site of the United States Senate. History of the senate and current session information. Vistor information for those planning a visit to Washington DC.

  • Glossary of Political Economy Terms
    Ever wonder what the difference is between the National Debt and the Deficit? What about an Appropriation and a Bill? This online glossary is easy to use and will help you understand what you read and hear in the media and from politicians and friends.
    The online edition of A Glossary of Political Economy Terms by Dr. Paul M. Johnson of Auburn University.

Long Term Care

  • Long Term Care Ombudsman
    The Long Term Care ombudsman responds to complaints and problems of residents or recipients of long term care, such as care in nursing homes, community-based residential facilities, and services of the Community Options Program and managed long-term care programs. They work with all parties involved to investigate and look for solutions to problems.
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