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AARP Connecticut Sets 2010 Legislative Priorities

As state legislators kick off the start of the 2010 session on February 3, AARP Connecticut has targeted several key legislative issues aimed at benefiting individuals 50 and older living in Connecticut.

With a budget shortfall of over $500 million and growing for the 2010 fiscal year, defending critical state services and public assistance programs for older residents will top AARP Connecticut’s legislative agenda. In several cases, AARP legislative priorities emphasize approaches that both save the state money and maintain the quality of life for those affected.

“As Governor Rell and legislative leaders again grapple with revenue shortfalls and look for additional deficit mitigating cuts, AARP urges Connecticut leaders to weigh the long-term costs and consider how these decisions will impact real people, beyond just the numbers,” said AARP Connecticut State Director Brenda Kelley. “Combined with previous cuts already included in the 2010 & 2011 state budget and additional administrative changes, any additional cuts in vital health, long-term care, and senior transportation programs would be devastating to Connecticut’s older adults.”

Connecticut AARP's 2010 legislative priorities include:

Health Care Reform

AARP Connecticut will work on implementation of SustiNet, a comprehensive health care reform plan enacted into law during the 2009 legislative session, which aims to make affordable health care coverage available to ninety-eight percent (98%) of state residents by 2014. AARP Connecticut also will work on implementation in Connecticut of any federal health reforms passed by Congress, including implementation of state requirements, opportunities and challenges.

Long-Term Care

AARP Connecticut will fight for home and community-based services and supports, so that individuals can choose to remain in their own homes, rather than a nursing facility. Specifically, we will fight additional cuts or cost-sharing under the state-funded Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, which provides adult day health services, companion services, home delivered meals, homemaker services, and personal care attendant services to older adults at risk of going into a nursing home. AARP also will work to expand home and community based long-term care options available under Medicaid, so consumers can continue to live safely and independently in their homes. We will oppose any proposed cuts to optional Medicaid services that are vital to our members.

Prescription Drug Coverage

AARP Connecticut will continue to work to ensure that the older adults have access to affordable prescription drugs through the ConnPACE prescription drug assistance program. Additionally, AARP will fight to expand prescription drug and health care benefits for older adults through the implementation of ConnPACE Plus. This is a new benefit that allows all ConnPACE recipients to qualify for a Medicare Savings Program, which will pay the cost of an individual’s Medicare Part B premium. AARP Connecticut also will advocate for legislation that prevents pharmaceutical sales representatives from improperly influencing doctors’ decisions about which drugs to prescribe. We will fight for legislation that ensures doctors have access to the best available, objective evidence on prescription drugs.

Electric Rates

AARP Connecticut will fight for financial relief for seniors on fixed incomes and all Connecticut residents by seeking to lower electric rates in Connecticut, which are currently the highest in the continental United States. To achieve this, AARP Connecticut will advocate for legislation that will improve the way Connecticut purchases electricity, and strengthen consumers’ bargaining power to negotiate for lower prices.

Transportation

AARP Connecticut will work to maintain Connecticut’s commitment to fixed-route bus service and work to protect and expand availability of local transportation for older adults and individuals with disabilities.

Want to get involved? Sign up to become an AARP E-activist and receive Action Alerts when your help can make a difference.

For more information about AARP Connecticut’s 2010 state legislative priorities or to find out how you can help, contact aarpct@aarp.org.

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