Senior Connections

NSHC’s Top 5 Priorities

The National Silver Haired Congress (NSHC) has chosen its Top 5 Resolutions for 2016. Three of these resolutions were submitted by the Nevada Delegation. The top resolution was to again urge the U.S. Congress to implement a Silver Alert notification network for missing elderly citizens. More than half of our states have passed state Silver Alert laws, Nevada being one of them.

The number two resolution, to Create an Ongoing Living Adjustment (SS COLA) Guarantee, was inspired by, and in fact uses the language in H.R. 5295 which is sponsored by Representative Joe Heck ® NV and Representative Richard Nolan (D) of Minnesota.

The National Silver Haired Congress (NSHC) is similar in organization to the U.S. Congress and uses procedures similar to theirs. The NSHC consists of a Silver Senate and a Silver House of Representatives. The Silver Senate is composed of two Silver Senators elected or appointed from each state that participates. The Silver House is composed of the same number of Delegates as Representatives to the U.S. Congress for that state. The NSHC held its inaugural session in February of 1997 in Washington, D.C.

The primary work of their annual session is to consider resolutions submitted by the members. After the session is completed, a legislative report is prepared and distributed to members of the U.S. Congress indicating the issues of most importance to seniors across the country. These issues are then followed up by the NSHC members with their Congressional representatives in Washington and at the local level.

The 18th Annual Session of the NSHC was held in the D.C. area August 12-14, 2016. Fifteen resolutions were submitted for consideration. Two failed to pass through committee and one was withdrawn by the author. Twelve were approved.

After these were approved by the Silver Senate and the Silver House, the NSHC narrowed its focus to the Top 5 priorities. These priorities will be recommended to the U.S. Congress for enactment into legislation to improve the quality of life for aging Americans.

The National Silver Haired Congress’ Top 5 Resolutions for 2016 are:

1. Implement a Silver Alert Notification Network for Missing Elderly Citizens

RESOLVED, that the National Silver Haired Congress urge the United States Congress to establish a Silver Alert notification network for missing vulnerable senior citizens, similar to the Amber Alert for children, so that law enforcement, news media, and the general public may be promptly notified and timely search and rescue may be undertaken when a vulnerable, disoriented elderly person is discovered missing.

2. Create an Ongoing Living Adjustment (SS COLA) Guarantee

RESOLVED, that the National Silver Haired Congress urge the United States Congress to provide certainty by guaranteeing annual COLA increases for Social Security beneficiaries that will help keep these beneficiaries out of poverty, and provide financial security; such as provided in H.R. 5295 by Representative Joe Heck ® NV and Representative Richard Nolan (D) MN.

3. Increase Funding in the States’ HCCBG (Home and Community Care Block Grants) to Support Malnutrition Screening for Older Adults

RESOLVED, that the National Silver Haired Congress urge the United States Congress to
Section 1: Increase funding in the HCCBG program to include malnutrition screening and intervention in essential benefits and Medicare annual exam
Section 2: Include coverage for oral nutrition supplements for malnourished and at-risk dual-eligible populations
Section 3: Collect and analyze Medicare/Medicaid data to improve outcomes with malnutrition screening and intervention
Section 4: Expand medical nutrition therapy coverage to include malnutrition

4. Establish a Senate Standing Committee on Aging

RESOLVED, that the National Silver Haired Congress urge the United States Senate to convert the existing Senate Special Committee on Aging to a Senate Standing Committee on Aging with full legislative authority, and to transfer to that Committee jurisdiction and oversight of issues and programs that primarily affect older Americans.

5. Reform Social Security Funding

RESOLVED, that the National Silver Haired Congress urge the United States Congress to reform Social Security funding by raising the cap on Social Security’s payroll taxes to restore Social Security’s long-term solvency, preferably as a part of an overall comprehensive plan to reform Social Security funding.

Dr. Herb Randall is an advocate for Senior Citizens. He is the Immediate Past President of the Nevada Silver Haired Legislative Forum and a Silver Senator with the Nevada Delegation of the National Silver Haired Congress. He can be contacted at herandall@cox.net.