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Wisconsin State Fact Sheet

AARP Wisconsin is proud to represent and serve over 798,000 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 Wisconsin will be working with legislators from both parties to protect programs that provide older adults with prescription drugs, access to health care, long-term care services, and other necessities from deep budget cuts.  We will also be working to strengthen and protect state consumer protection laws and regulations.

Age 50+ voters: 85 percent of Wisconsinites 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 Wisconsinites

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

  • Providing relief for 929,538 Wisconsinites who won’t receive a cost of living increase (COLA) this year.

Protecting Medicare:  We are fighting to protect guaranteed benefits for the 871,111 Wisconsinites 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 318,951 seniors by closing the Medicare Part D coverage gap or “doughnut hole.”
  • Preventing insurance companies from denying affordable coverage to up to 77,000 Wisconsinites age 50-64 based on age or a 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 28 percent of long-term care dollars in on home and community based-services for older adults and adults with physical disabilities and 72 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 890,000 family caregivers in Wisconsin – individuals who provide help to their loved ones to enable them to live at home and whose unpaid contributions are valued at $6.6 billion.   

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

  • Enacting Automatic IRA legislation, which would help many of the estimated 1,343,800 Wisconsinites who don’t currently have a retirement plan at work to have simple access to a retirement savings account. 

AARP: Fighting for Wisconsin

As the health care debate started to heat up in Wisconsin, AARP Wisconsin’s Health Action Now van tour took the debate to AARP members, engaged volunteer advocates, and educated the media on AARP’s positions.

Between June and October 2009, thousands of AARP Wisconsin members participated in community-based health care conversations in 41 cities in all eight of ’s congressional districts. AARP Wisconsin volunteer advocates attended the conversations and followed up by writing letters to their local newspapers and Members of Congress, summarizing the conversations and stressing the importance of AARP’s health reform goals.

A total of 29 newspaper editorial board visits were made during the Van Tour and reporters covered 22 conversations.  The New York Times attended more than one editorial board meeting and as a result, a lengthy story that featured AARP’s health reform efforts across Wisconsin and the nation ran in the paper.

AARP Wisconsin held community health care reform discussions and participated in radio call-in programs, all covered by 36 radio stations statewide.  Facebook, the AARP Wisconsin State Website, and Twitter extended the health reform discussion reach by hundreds.  AARP Wisconsin’s State President created four video blogs on YouTube about AARP’s health reform efforts, Blogs were posted on YouTube and were sent to 119,000 AARP Wisconsin e-activists. Two Tele-town meetings focused on responding to members’ health reform questions and more than 800 personal health care stories were collected.

AARP Contact Information

Wisconsin:  D’Anna Bowman, Director, DBowman@aarp.org; (608) 286-6301
Washington, Dc:  Kristin Keckeisen, Sr. Legislative Representative, KKeckeisen@aarp.org; (202) 434-3767

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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