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AARP SC Announces 2010 Legislative Agenda

The 2010 legislative session begins on January 12, 2010 and AARP South Carolina will be working on three core issues this session. Including:

LONG-TERM CARE - Maintain funding for key home-and community- based long-term care programs that help seniors stay in their homes and communities. AARP South Carolina advocated and won the first new funding for meals and transportation for seniors in a decade. Now we must fight to keep that funding so that older South Carolinians will not go hungry or miss their doctor’s appointments.

LONG-TERM CARE SERVICES – Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS)

HCBS allow citizens to remain independent and avoid placement in nursing homes – which are at least three times more expensive than HCBS alternatives.

AARP South Carolina supports maintaining the $2.9 million in funding for the Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging or almost 5000 older South Carolinians will lose home-delivered meals, transportation and other services.

AARP South Carolina supports choice so that older and/or disabled adults who qualify for nursing home care, but who choose to remain at home may do so. Community Long Term Care (CLTC) provides choices through a range of services, such as meals, aides, transportation, adult day services, respite care, home modifications, etc. AARP South Carolina will advocate for maintaining current levels of funding for CLTC.

HEALTH CARE REFORM - Support efforts to decrease the number of uninsured as well as efforts to improve health care quality. Advocate for an increase for the lowest in the nation cigarette tax – revenues to be used to maintain Medicaid or expand health care coverage.

HEALTH CARE REFORM

More than 700,000 South Carolinians, including 165,000 children, have no health care insurance. South Carolina’s health status ranks among the nation’s lowest with a high incidence of stroke, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and infant mortality. The lack of adequate health insurance, a major barrier to primary and preventive care, is cited as a key factor in these poor health rankings, according to the South Carolina Hospital Association.

Almost 6,000 South Carolinians die each year from tobacco-related illnesses, which cost the state $1 billion each year to treat. AARP supports efforts to reduce the number of uninsured with revenue from an increased cigarette tax. Every dollar in state revenue draws down $3 in matching funds.

What we cannot afford is poor health care quality – it’s expensive and sometimes deadly. AARP SOUTH CAROLINA will continue to advocate for health care quality reforms that will protect consumers of health care.

AFFORDABLE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS - Restore funding for GAPS – the state’s prescription assistance program for older South Carolinians with lower incomes - to help cover the “doughnut hole” on their Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.

AFFORDABLE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

New prescription drugs may prolong life, improve the quality of life as well as replace the need for more intensive, often expensive medical treatments. Unfortunately, some manufacturers’ prices for widely used prescription drugs are rising at an average yearly rate that is more than double the rate of inflation.

AARP supports efforts to make prescription drugs more affordable through efforts such as the GAPs program at SC Dept. of Health & Human Services. GAPs provides continuous coverage for Medicare Part D for lower income persons, but recent budget cuts to Medicaid threaten to gut the program.

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