KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama’s Aging Czar Calls Issue ‘A Unifying Topic’

The Associated Press profiles Kathy Greenlee, the "aging czar."

"Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging in the Department of Health and Human Services, is the country's top authority on issues facing the massively expanding population of older Americans."

Greenlee, 49, "oversees a $1.5 billion annual budget and tens of thousands of organizations receiving federal funding for all types of senior services, including rides to doctor appointments, adult day care, home-delivered meals and legal assistance for elders in every part of the U.S. It gives her a voice on the health overhaul legislation, at least as related to seniors, and on issues involving Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, though those entitlement programs are not directly under her supervision." She comes to the job with extensive experience working with the elderly, including "heading the Kansas Department on Aging."

"Among the issues Greenlee is most passionate about is keeping seniors in their homes and communities, if they choose, and out of nursing homes, which most want to avoid." And "as for the health overhaul bill, Greenlee has been active trying to pass along facts on the proposals to providers of aging services, in hopes of getting seniors informed. She concedes there has been confusion. 'Seniors aren't quite sure what to believe,' she said" (Sedensky, 8/29).

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