News to Note

Post-Election Kaiser Tracking Poll

What Role for Healthcare Issues in Voters' Choice?

While the future of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act provoked intense debate during the long campaign leading up to last month's election, healthcare issues did not turn out to be a leading factor in the presidential choices of voters, according to results of the Kaiser Family Foundation's post-election November 2012 Health Tracking Poll.

Asked to name the two issues that most affected their vote for either President Obama or Governor Romney, voters said the personal characteristics and records of the candidates mattered most (for 55 percent of Obama voters and 48 percent of those who chose Romney). Healthcare issues together came in third.

Medicare was a major factor for older voters (82 percent of voters age 65 and older, compared to 66 percent among younger voters), but very few (5 percent) said it was the biggest issue in their choice.

And the Affordable Care Act? As for how voters viewed the ACA, the November poll showed 40 percent holding a favorable view and 40 percent holding an unfavorable view, with the remaining 20 percent having no opinion. Previous polls of older adults had found them slightly more skeptical of the ACA than were younger voters, but the foundation said the November poll results showed that older adults had come to be more in agreement with other Americans.

Complete results include a look at the issue list, more on the ACA, and expectations for an Obama second term.

Grants to Aging and Disability Resource Centers

DHHS Awards $12.5 Million for 'Options Counselors'

SupportsOlder adults and people with disabilities across the country are currently finding appropriate long-term services and supports through local Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ARDCs) with more than $12.5 million in new grants recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grants, funded by the Affordable Care Act and the Older Americans Act, are to support ARDC "options counselors," who help individuals and their caregivers identify and gain access to the resources they need for community living with maximum independence, regardless of income or financial assets.

In announcing the grants, DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the ADRC options counselors can help individuals evaluate their needs and sift through the options available in their community to create a plan, "whether they are in the hospital and ready to be discharged or living at home but needing additional care."

ADRCs are agencies that offer a "one-stop shop," or single, coordinated system of information and access, for people seeking an appropriate combination of long-term services and supports as their health and daily-living needs change. The system of ADRCs was created in a collaborative effort of the Administration on Community Living and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, both DHHS agencies, with the Veterans Health Administration as a key partner. All 50 states and four U.S. territories are now operating or are in the process of implementing an ADRC.

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Copyright © 2013 Trustees of Boston University. All rights reserved. This article may not be duplicated or distributed in any form without written permission from the publisher: The Institute for Geriatric Social Work, Boston University School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, U.S.A.; e-mail: igsw@bu.edu.