May 03,2004

Chairman Grassley Tapped for White House Conference on Aging

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley has been selected to serve on the White House Conference on Aging, which will make recommendations next year on public and private efforts to promote the dignity, health, independence and economic security of older Americans.Grassley will serve on the 17-member policy committee, which is appointed by thePresident and Congressional leaders. The formal conference will be held sometime beforeDecember 21, 2005.

"This conference gives policy makers, advocates and eldercare providers a platform to confront the challenges, herald the advances and highlight the opportunities facing an aging American society," Grassley said. "We're nearing the retirement years of the big baby boomer generation, and now is the time to get ready. The mass retirement of this generation will put astrain on aging-related resources like never before. We've taken some important steps to prepare,such as modernizing Medicare, but we should do even more."

The White House Conference on Aging is charged with developing 50 recommendationsto guide the legislative and executive branches of government on how to better serve olderAmericans. Ideas promoted by previous White House conferences have been incorporated intoCongressional action on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition programs for the elderlyand senior housing, for example.

In Congress, Grassley has a long record of successful policy initiatives to improve thequality of life of older Americans, from pocketbook to health care security. He has pursuedmeasures as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, chairman of the Senate AgingCommittee and a charter member of the Aging Committee in the House of Representatives.

Just last year, he was the lead architect in the Senate of legislation to modernize the 38-year-old Medicare program and provide a prescription drug benefit for senior citizens. Over theyears, he has conducted oversight to curb fraud against Medicare and protect the resourcesneeded to serve beneficiaries. The Grassley-sponsored changes to the False Claims Act in 1986have today become the government's most effective tool against health care fraud.

In previous years, Grassley has sponsored legislation to extend the solvency of SocialSecurity, which he has called the government's most successful program ever. Grassley has beenresponsible for numerous policy initiatives that have become law over the last two decades toexpand access to health care services for the elderly. When the Older Americans Act wasrenewed in 2000, Grassley got included a new program to support family caregivers, includingthose who often care for older family members. In 1984, Grassley was responsible for theupdates to the Older Americans Act as chairman of the subcommittee on aging of the then-Laborand Human Resources Committee.

In 2001, Grassley was responsible for passage of tax measures to help workingAmericans save more for retirement. He has sponsored legislation to simplify and protectworkers' pensions, lessen the tax burden on retirees and expand long-term care insurancecoverage. Grassley led an oversight effort which resulted in greater and more effective federalscrutiny of the quality of care in nursing homes.

The White House conferences started in 1961 and have occurred about every ten years.The most recent conference, in 1995, was attended by more than 3,000 people, including 2,217delegates from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Most of the delegateswere selected by governors, members of Congress and constituent advocacy groups.