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AARP Arkansas Selects Main Issues for 2011 Legislative Session

In early December, AARP Arkansas, its Executive Council and many dedicated volunteers got specific about the upcoming General Assembly. The group of about 60 AARP members, volunteers and partners met in Little Rock to discuss the main issues the organization would address during the 88th Arkansas General Assembly.

The four legislative issues include:

Giving Consumers a Choice in Long-Term Care

AARP Arkansas is asking the state to ensure that people with long-term care needs have viable access to a variety of services to meet their needs and preferences, including home- and community-based services.

Health Insurance After the Affordable Care Act and Health Information Technology

AARP Arkansas believes the General Assembly should enact legislation giving the Arkansas Department of Insurance the authority to create a Health Insurance Exchange. The organization also asks that the state improve the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of health care by implementation of Health Information Technology including electronic health records.

Increases Funding for Senior Centers and Home Delivered Meals

AARP Arkansas is asking the legislature to ensure that older Arkansans get the support they need and deserve by increasing funding to community centers.

Address the Health Care Workforce Shortage

AARP Arkansas believes that by legislation or executive order, a lead entity should be designated to develop specific steps to address the workforce shortage in Arkansas.

"These four issues are very important to older Arkansans," said Maria Reynolds-Diaz, State Director of AARP Arkansas. "Through our advocacy efforts and with the help of our many passionate volunteers we are able to be a voice at the state capitol. We want people to know that AARP is in your corner, fighting on issues that matter to you and your family."

During the planning meeting, the group learned more from the experts about each issue, discussed in detail why the four topics were vital to the state and then broke into workgroups to develop comprehensive Direct Action Organizing Charts.

The meeting, which was moderated by AARP Arkansas State President Mary Dillard, also included guest speakers such as Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford, Senator-Elect Steve Harrelson, CareLink CEO Elaine Eubank and Suzanne McCarthy and David Boling from the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

AARP Arkansas is making a difference - lend your voice. Become an advocate. Call 1-866-554-5379 or send an email to araarp@aarp.org.

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