As we wind down a busy and productive 2011, AARP is already looking ahead to the new year, laying the groundwork for our advocacy efforts in 2012 on behalf of our members and all older adults in Connecticut.
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Protecting the Safety Net
Our top focus in 2012: Protecting the health and human services that our most vulnerable older residents depend on. During the upcoming legislative session, which begins February 8th, 2012, AARP Connecticut will work to safe-guard safety net programs and restore funding to pre-crisis levels.
While the threat of major budget deficit no longer looms, funding concerns for important programs will continue to be a major focus of the state government. These programs include:
- Dial-A-Ride: Last year the governor and the legislature cut funding for the municipal Dial-A-Ride matching grant program by 25%. This program provides demand responsive transportation services for seniors and the disabled.
- Home Care Services: We will continue to work to reduce the co-pay on state-funded Connecticut home care program for elders. The sate proposed a 15% copay, and AARP was successful in getting it reduced to 7%.
Providing More Home and Community-Based Care Options
AARP will continue to focus on maximizing home and community-based services (HCBS) for older adults and persons with disabilities, as well as helping consumers understand and access the HCBS that are available to them. Home care services help keep people out of nursing homes, allowing them to remain independent longer and ultimately saving the state millions of dollars in Medicaid costs. 89% of older adults in Connecticut prefer to receive care at home, rather than in a nursing home. Yet, the Nutmeg State continues to spend a disproportionate share of its Medicaid long-term care dollars on more costly nursing home care.
Expanding Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care
AARP will work with legislators and the Governor to effectively implement provisions of the new federal health care law in Connecticut to ensure that all residents have access to affordable, quality health care.
Lowering Energy Costs
AARP Connecticut will also continue to fight to lower electric rates for residents; Connecticut ratepayers currently pay among the highest rates in the continental United States and, on average, 15% higher than our neighboring states. Last year, AARP led an effort to bring about major electric market reforms that will help reduce rates by up to 10%, help upgrade boilers and furnaces through low interest financing and will establish a discount electric and gas rate for low and moderate income families.
AARP will produce voter’s guides for all upcoming Connecticut elections in 2012: U.S. Senate, all five Congressional races, and all legislative races in the state.
AARP fought all year long to protect Social Security and Medicare from proposed cuts to reduce the federal deficit, and will continue to be a strong voice for older Americans in this critically important debate.
Join the fight
Help us with this critical work. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with AARP Connecticut, or if you’d like to learn more about the issues we will be working on in 2012, please call us toll-free at 1-866-295-7279 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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