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In the various roles he has undertaken through the years, Val J. Halamandaris has been a singular driving force behind the policy and program initiatives resulting in the recognition of home health care as a viable alternative to institutionalization. His dedication to consumer advocacy, which enhances the quality of life and dignity of those receiving home health care, merits VNA HealthCare Group’s highest recognition and deepest respect. 

VNA HealthCare Group

I have the highest respect for them, especially for the nurses, aides and therapists, who devote their lives to caring for people with disabilities, the infirm and dying Americans.  There are few more noble professions.

President Barack Obama

Home health care agencies do such a wonderful job in this country helping people to be able to remain at home and allowing them to receive services

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chair, Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

Heath care at home…is something we need more of, not less of.  Let us make a commitment to preventive and long-term care.  Let us encourage home care as an alternative to nursing homes and give folks a little help to have their parents there.

Former President Bill Clinton

Home care is a combination of compassion and efficiency.  It is less expensive than institutional care...but at the same time it is a more caring, human, intimate experience, and therefore it has a greater human’s a big mistake not to try to maximize it and find ways to give people the home care option over either nursing homes, hospitals or other institutions

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Medicaid covers long-term care, but only for low-income families.  And Medicare only pays for care that is connected to a hospital discharge....our health care system must cover these vital services...[and] we should promote home-based care, which most people prefer, instead of the institutional care that we emphasize now.

Former U.S. Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-CD)

We need incentives to...keep people in home health care settings...It’s dramatically less expensive than long term care.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)


Home care is clearly the wave of the future. It’s clearly where patients want to be cared for. I come from an ethnic family and when a member of our family is severely ill, we would never consider taking them to get institutional care. That’s true of many families for both cultural and financial reasons. If patients have a choice of where they want to be cared for, where it’s done the right way, they choose home.

Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

A couple of years ago, I spent a little bit of time with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and its president, Val J. Halamandaris, and I was just blown away. What impressed me so much was that they talked about what they do as opposed to just the strategies of how to deal with Washington or Sacramento or Albany or whatever the case may be. Val is a fanatic about care, and it comes through in every way known to mankind. It comes through in the speakers he invites to their events; it comes through in all the stuff he shares.

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

Val’s home care organization brings thousands of caregivers together into a dynamic organization that provides them with valuable resources and tools to be even better in their important work. He helps them build self-esteem, which leads to self-motivation.

Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney and author of Think Out of the Box

Val is one of the greatest advocates for seniors in America. He goes beyond the call of duty every time.

Arthur S. Flemming, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

Val has brought the problems, the challenges, and the opportunities out in the open for everyone to look at. He is a visionary pointing the direction for us. 

Margaret (Peg) Cushman, Professor of Nursing and former President of the Visiting Nurses Association

Although Val has chosen to stay in the background, he deserves much of the credit for what was accomplished both at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, where he was closely associated with me and at the House Select Committee on Aging, where he was Congressman Claude Pepper’s senior counsel and closest advisor. He put together more hearings on the subject of aging, wrote more reports, drafted more bills, and had more influence on the direction of events than anyone before him or since.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Val’s most important contribution is pulling together all elements of home health care and being able to organize and energize the people involved in the industry.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

Kathleen Gardner Cravedi, former Staff Director of the House Select Committee on Aging

Without your untiring support and active participation, the voices of people advocating meaningful and compassionate health care reform may not have been heard by national leaders.

Michael Sullivan, Former Executive Director, Indiana Association for Home Care

All of us have been members of many organizations and NAHC is simply the best there is. NAHC aspires to excellence in every respect; its staff has been repeatedly honored as the best in Washington; the organization lives by the highest values and has demonstrated a passionate interest in the well-being of patients and providers.

Elaine Stephens, Director of Home Care of Steward Home Care/Steward Health Systems and former NAHC C

Home care increasingly is one of the basic building blocks in the developing system of long-term care.  On both economic and recuperative bases, home health care will continue to grow as an essential service for individuals, for families and for the community as a whole.

Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

NCOA is excited to be part of this great event and honored to have such influential award winners in the field of aging.

National Council of Aging

Supreme Court Hears ObamaCare Case

March 6, 2015 10:43 AM

Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a case that could have significant implications for President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “ObamaCare.” The focus of the case, King v. Burwell, surrounds the legality of insurance subsidies to individuals purchasing health insurance through the federal marketplace.

According to the well-respected blog focusing on the Supreme Court,

The ACA requires states to create “exchanges” – essentially, marketplaces – for their residents to buy health insurance.  But if a state refuses, the federal government will provide the exchange.  The law then provides tax credits for people who need financial assistance.  Without the subsidy, many people will not be subject to the “individual mandate” to buy insurance.  An employer also is required to make insurance available only if its employees receive the subsidy.

The Obama Administration has issued a rule saying that the tax credits are available for purchases not just under state exchanges but also in the roughly three dozen states in which the federal government provides the exchange.  Roughly 5.4 million people have purchased insurance through the federal exchange, and almost ninety percent of them have received the subsidy.  Many could not afford insurance without it…

The legal argument that is central to the case, as outlined by is that:

The law establishes a formula for determining the tax credits.  It applies to insurance that is purchased through an exchange “established by the State.”  It does not mention the federal exchange.  The challengers argue that this language is clear: the tax credits are available only for purchases through the state exchanges.

Courts are required to apply the laws that Congress enacts and to strike down rules that violate clear statutes.  On the other hand, Congress passes a lot of laws that aren’t clear.  In those cases, courts are required to uphold rules that reasonably resolve ambiguities in the statutes.

In the oral arguments presented by the parties on March 4, 2015, each focused on its strongest points. The Petitioner (the party seeking to invalidate the rule that extended subsidies to federal exchange insurance enrollees) argued that the plain language of the law limited subsidies to those states that operated their own insurance exchange. Also, it was argued that the reason for the limited access to subsidies was to encourage states to set them up rather than have the federal government do it.

The Respondent (the US Department of Health and Human Services) argued that the law must be read in its overall context and that subsidies were intended in all states regardless of the nature of the exchange. HHS argued that it had the discretion to read the law broadly.

The Supreme Court Justices seemed divided along ideological lines with the conservative justices attacking the HHS position and the so-called liberal justices going after the Petitioners arguments. Justice Clarence Thomas sat silently as he usually does. Most observers think he will side with the Petitioners. Justice Roberts appears to be the most likely swing vote in the divided court. He focused on whether the Petitioner’s reading of the law would create a constitutional question involving forcing states to set up an exchange to qualify its citizens for a subsidy. Chief Justice Roberts, another swing vote possibility, had little to say other than to raise concerns that giving the government too much regulatory discretion might mean that the interpretation is subject to change by the next administration.

If the Court rules in favor of the petitioners, more than nine million people could instantly lose the subsidies that helped them to purchase private health insurance. With such an outcome, many people will either lose their health insurance, have to pay more for it, or go back onto Medicaid. A ruling for the petitioners could also potentially lead to difficulties in obtaining home care services through Medicaid as individual states will be forced to come up with solutions for maintaining access to health services while dealing with an onslaught of new beneficiaries.

On the other hand, a ruling for petitioners would have the effect of eliminating the daunting employer mandate in many states. That mandate is based on individual employees qualifying for an insurance subsidy. If there is no subsidy, there is no penalty that could be imposed against employers that do not provide health insurance to workers employed 30 hours or more per week. A NAHC survey indicates that most Medicaid-focused home care companies as well as most private pay personal care services companies do not provide a qualified health insurance to all of their full time employees. As a result, there is a high risk of a large financial penalty under the ACA employer mandate.

JA decision is expected before the end of June when the Supreme Court closes its 2014-2015 term.




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