The White House Conference On Aging: The (Almost) Super Bowl of Elder Care…

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Washington, D.C.—Good morning, ProviderNation. The White House Conference on Aging may not be the Super Bowl of the elder care world (actually, the Super Bowl might be the Super Bowl of the elder care world, too), but it’s close.

On Monday, President Obama will kick off the annual conference. The fine folks at AHCA/NCAL are hosting their own viewing party, but you and yours can get in on the action, thanks to the beauty of the Interwebs. If you don’t wish to host your own party, you can join others’ parties at the conference’s website.

Your humble correspondent and his cruel bosses will be live-tweeting the event, too, for those whose tastes include all-you-can-snark-buffets.  This year’s conference will cover the waterfront, from health aging to retirement security, but it comes at a critical time.

Consider:

  • Obamacare has just passed its second crucial test at the Supreme Court, which means—for better or worse—it’s here to stay;
  • With or without Obamacare, federal and state regulators are pushing fee-for-service into its grave and are expanding value-based purchasing models at every opportunity;
  • About 3 million baby boomers will hit retirement age (i.e., Medicare-eligible) every year for the next two decades; and
  • Next year may well be the last time that a baby boomer is nominated from either party (some boomer-Americans like to claim President Obama as their own, but a lot of smart people beg to differ).

All of the above is perfectly obvious to those who work in long term and post-acute care already. But the full weight of the matter doesn’t seem to have caught up with the Big Public. (Just look at the declared presidential candidates’ websites and see where, or if, you can find aging-related matters.)

“Given how rapidly boomers are aging,” says Clif Porter II, AHCA/NCAL’s dynamo lobbyist, “and how rapidly the technology, finances, and even the culture of aging are changing, it would be great to see our nation’s leaders—current and future—giving the issues the respect they deserve.”

So if you’re hoping to get a chance to change Washington’s script about aging, the White House Conference is a great place to start.

If it helps stir up interest in apolitical types among your crowd, try enticing them with that old favorite, Washington bingo. Check boxes for “stakeholders,” “bipartisan,” “anything hyphenated-Americans,” “thinking outside the box,” “paradigm,” “so…” “thought leader,” “proactive” and “anything community.”*

*Were this not a family-valued blog, one might suggest that this could be an excellent drinking game. But not even I hate your liver that much.

Bill Myers is Provider’s senior editor. Email him at wmyers@providermagazine.com. Follow him on Twitter, @ProviderMyers.

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