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AARP SC Readies for Legislative Session

The South Carolina Legislature will convene on Jan. 11, 2011, to begin the first regular session of the 119th General Assembly. AARP South Carolina will be taking on issues important to our members in the state.

Home- and Community-Based Services

Home- and Community-Based services have become AARP South Carolina’s signature issue over the past few years. Representatives and senators have continued to support home- and community-based services because it has meant so much to older, isolated seniors. A hot meal and a smile can mean the difference between being independent and being institutionalized. Realizing these economic times are rough, AARP South Carolina will ask our legislators to remember the thousands of seniors who receive meals, transportation to the doctor and other services when budgets are prioritized.

Last year, the General Assembly provided $1.6 million in recurring funding, which was a wonderful commitment in such a bad budget year. This year, the need is still great and AARP South Carolina asks that representatives and senators remember the seniors and their need for meals when money becomes available and to restore the $1.3 million that was lost last year, which paid and provided for 217,000 meals for frail and isolated seniors.

Long-Term Care

South Carolina needs to re-balance its system of long-term care in order to serve more people with long-term care needs because of age or disability. Re-balancing means weighting funding towards home- and community- based services versus institutionalized care. Research shows states that have re-balanced their long-term care system so that a greater percentage of long-term care dollars go to home- and community-based services versus long-term care actually bend the cost curve downwards.

In 2010, a joint resolution was passed by the House of Representatives establishing a Task Force to study our long-term care system and make recommendations for improvement. A coalition of 12 organizations supported this resolution.

The SC Health Care Association opposed the Joint Resolution and it was defeated in a Medical Affairs Subcommittee. The South Carolina Health Care Association (SCHCA) is a trade association, whose membership includes approximately 150 nursing facilities and 120 associate member companies. Membership includes nursing homes and companies who supply goods and services to the facilities.

The coalition plans to re-introduce the resolution to allow South Carolina to develop this strategic plan.

Older Drivers

A bill to reduce the initial AARP Drivers Safety program instruction from eight hours to six and to allow a four-hour refresher course every three years failed to pass. Auto insurance industry amendments bogged down the driver safety bill.

This session AARP South Carolina is determined to get this change enacted so that it will be easier for members to obtain an insurance premium credit on their auto policies. All graduates of the AARP Driver Safety course in South Carolina are eligible for a discount on their auto insurance.

Find more information on how to find a class or to become a volunteer.
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