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Arkansas State Fact Sheet

AARP is proud to represent and serve 343,122 AARP members age 50+ in the state.

For 50 years, AARP has had one mission:  making life better for older Americans. AARP was created after its founder discovered a retired teacher in poor health living in a chicken coop, unable to afford medical care and with barely enough money to live on. Since then, AARP has been fighting for health and financial security for all Americans.

In 2010, AARP Arkansas will be working with legislators from both parties to protect lifeline programs that provide seniors with food, health care and other necessities from deep budget cuts.  We will also be working to strengthen state laws to prevent banks and credit card companies from taking advantage of older Americans and to protect consumers from unfair utility hikes.

Age 50+ voters:  72 percent of Arkansans age 50+ voted in the 2008 election, sending a clear message that it’s time for elected officials from both sides of the aisle to come together to solve our nation’s problems.

AARP:  Working To Improve the Lives of All Arkansans

Strengthening Social Security:  We are fighting to strengthen Social Security for current and future generations by:

  • Providing relief for 541,696 who won’t receive a cost of living increase (COLA) this year.

Protecting Medicare:  We are fighting to protect guaranteed benefits for the 505,634 Arkansans who receive their health care through Medicare.

Improving Health Care:  We are fighting to stop insurance abuses and protect the Medicare benefits seniors have earned by:

  • Lowering drug costs for 174,660 seniors by closing the Medicare Part D coverage gap or “doughnut hole.”
  • Preventing insurance companies from denying affordable coverage to up to 75,000 Arkansans age 50-64 based on age or pre-existing condition.
  • Expanding access to home and community-based services through Medicaid – the largest payer of long-term services and supports – which, in 2007, spent only 21 percent of long-term care dollars in on home and community based-services for older adults and adults with physical disabilities and 79 percent on institutional care for the same population.
  • Supporting Caregivers:  AARP is fighting to ensure more Americans can receive the services they need to live independently in their homes and communities by:
  • Valuing and supporting the 550,000 family caregivers in Arkansas – individuals who provide help to their loved ones to enable them to live at home and whose unpaid contributions are valued at $3,500,000,000.   

Promoting Retirement Savings:  We are fighting to help Americans save for retirement by:

  • Enacting Automatic IRA legislation, which would help many of the estimated 733,600 Arkansans who don’t currently have a retirement plan at work to have simple access to a retirement savings account.

AARP: Fighting for Arkansas

AARP Arkansas state and federal advocacy is supported by a network of 40 local chapters, eight regional districts, over 200 grassroots advocates, and 21,000 e-advocates using multiple strategies to engage members and the public. Working with members, advocates and partners, AARP Arkansas saw the following positive actions on its state advocacy priorities in 2009:

  • Provided coalition support for passage of Act 180, which provides an additional $18 million to expand home and community based health services, establishes a statewide Level I trauma system, and supports other community health programs.
  • Led activity to pass Senate Resolution 26 to establish Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support and Senate Resolution 24 to expand the availability of services to relative caregivers.
  • Strengthened Identity Theft protection through Act 223 Security Freeze legislation.
  • Led a coalition of 50 organizations that advocated for passage of Act 661 creating a state Housing Trust Fund with goal of increasing the state’s investment in safe, accessible, and affordable housing.
  • Achieved the creation of the Silver Alert system to mobilize quick, efficient, and effective search for lost adults with impairments.
  • Initiated efforts to promote and finance affordable assisted living resulting in utilizing $5 million to create a “risk pool” and other mechanisms.
  • Sponsored a summit on long-term care to introduce a state plan to balance long-term care and continue to monitor implementation.

These advocacy efforts, AARP’s policy positions, and our member value activities generated more than 55 news articles and local ads appearing in newspapers, television, and radio, reaching 2.7 million people.

AARP Contact Information

Arkansas:  Maria Reynolds-Diaz, Senior State Director; MDiaz@aarp.org; (501) 217-1621

Washington, DC: Pete Jeffries, Senior Legislative Representative; PJeffries@aarp.org; (515) 697-1017

References

Strengthening Social Security: Social Security Administration, 2007. OASDI Beneficiaries by State and County.

Protecting Medicare: The Kaiser Family Foundation, 2008. State Health Facts. http://www.statehealthfacts.org/

Improving Health Care: Doughnut hole: AARP (PPI) Fact Sheet, 2009. “Closing the ‘Doughnut Hole’ Will Help Protect Over One-Third of Medicare Beneficiaries from High Drug Costs”

Improving Health Care: Uninsured 50-64: Census Bureau. Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2007 through 2009

Improving Health Care: Home and Community-Based Services: AARP PPI, 2009. Across the States: Profiles of Long-term Care and Independent Living.

Supporting Caregivers: AARP PPI, 2008. Valuing the Invaluable: The Economic Value of Caregiving, 2008 Update.

Promoting Retirement Savings: Based on data from the US Census, State and Patterns & Current Populations Survey statistics on Pension Coverage. 2004.

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