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Congress Urged to Protect Older Workers from Discrimination

PHOTO: Will Phillips and Jim Scheibel with AARP Minnesota meeting with Rep. Collin Peterson on Wednesday in Washington D.C. Photo courtesy: AARP.
PHOTO: Will Phillips and Jim Scheibel with AARP Minnesota meeting with Rep. Collin Peterson on Wednesday in Washington D.C. Photo courtesy: AARP.
May 22, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. – As Americans in the state and the nation continue to age, Congress is being urged to take action on a long list of legislation that's being called vital to older adults and their families.

That includes passage of the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, says Will Phillips, state director of AARP Minnesota.

"Very simply, it would equalize the protections between folks who face discrimination and make sure that people who are discriminated against based on age have protections and have some level of recourse," he explains.

Phillips, who met with members of Minnesota's congressional delegation on Wednesday, says the Act is needed to address a Supreme Court decision that makes it more difficult for older workers to prove claims of illegal bias based on age.

Another focus, explains Phillips, is a long-term fix to the flaws with Medicare reimbursements to doctors, to provide them and their patients with a more stable, predictable system.

"So that we can make sure that doctors are reimbursed adequately and for quality of care through Medicare,” he says. “And the other thing is, is that we want to make sure that it is done in a way that does not harm current Medicare beneficiaries."

Also meeting with lawmakers this week in Washington was Jim Scheibel, interim president of AARP Minnesota.

He is pushing for passage of the Safe Streets Act and for re-authorization of the Older Americans Act, which provides funding for meal and nutrition services, caregiver support and preventive health care.

"We're not asking for any new dollars,” he stresses. “We're asking for just a very simple re authorization.

“It's a lot of those – what I describe as – supportive services that can make a difference in the quality of life for older Americans."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the aging of the baby boomer generation means the nation's 65-and-older population will nearly double by 2050.



John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN