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AARP Priorities Include Cost Savings for State Budget

Huge Budget Shortfalls Could Lead to Hasty Decisions

Nevada continues to face drastic budget shortfalls; as we have for the last three years. Our state was one of the first to feel the sting of the Great Recession and according to a recent Brookings Mountain West report appears will be one of the last to recover.

With the highest unemployment and foreclosure rates in the country to this day, our economy is struggling. Still, we expect our elected officials to find solutions to our budget crisis without gutting the services on which many have come to rely. Whether it’s public education, services for the disabled or senior programs like Meals on Wheels; it’s all on the table. But should it be?

AARP Nevada’s Legislative Priorities for 2011

In a recent survey of AARP Nevada members, 61 percent of those responding said that they were very concerned about staying in their own homes as they aged. Aging in place ranks high with our members here in Nevada as well as in surveys across the country. It is important to have dignity and independence as we age. As such, AARP’s legislative priorities focus on protecting the patchwork of home and community-based services in Medicaid which enable the elderly to live in their own homes instead of being institutionalized in nursing homes. These same services also allow disabled children and adults to live at home with their families.

Value for Your State Tax Dollar

What’s surprising about these services is how cost effective they are. If we maintain Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) such as home delivered meals, personal care attendants, adult day care, and respite; we enable people to live independently, with dignity and at a much lower cost than institutional care. In Nevada approximately four people can be cared for in the community for the same cost as one in a nursing home.

Currently, our state spends 66% of its Medicaid long-term care dollars on nursing home care for older people, disabled adults and children with physical disabilities. Only 34% of the long-term care dollars are spent on home care. Not only that, but there are Federal matching dollars (FMAP) which the state would lose if we discontinue or drastically reduce funding for home- and community-based services.

Those Federal Medicaid matching dollars boost our economy, pay for services, and provide jobs for Nevadans.

Yet during the 2009 legislative session and 2010 special session, AARP had to fight to protect funding for cost effective services which serve more people for less money and draw additional Federal dollars into our state.

Join Us in Our Efforts to Preserve These Cost Effective Services

Our members are a big part of what make AARP’s legislative efforts successful. Whether it’s writing or calling your elected officials; attending a rally or engaging your friends and neighbors on issues—it’s you, the constituent, that captures the attention of legislators. Join us and make a difference on this and other issues.

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