AARP Alabama is dedicated to working with our state leaders to ensure that all Alabamians have access to affordable health care, lifetime financial security and stronger consumer protection, and will make the following issues legislative priorities in the upcoming session:
State Budgets – Protect state budgets and programs promoting independence, choice and dignity of people 50+, including Medicaid, SenioRx, home- and community-based services, the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, job training and Meals on Wheels.
Livable Communities – Ensure that communities accessible, safe and affordable provide housing and transportation options for people of all ages. We will work diligently for passage of the Housing Trust Fund and Complete Streets legislation, and to protect funding for housing programs; identify and remove barriers to diverse housing options; strengthen the connection between transportation and land use, and pursue public accountability and transparency in transportation funding and decision making.
Access to Affordable, Nutritious Food – Remove state sales tax on food. Working Alabama families continue to struggle to meet rapidly rising food costs as Alabama remains one of two states that does not offer any offset, rebate or break to this unfair tax burden. Alabamians in the lowest 20 percent of income earners, with an average income of $10,400 a year, pay 10.2 percent of their income in state and local taxes. Those in the top 1 percent, with an average income of $1.2 million, pay 4 percent of their income in state and local taxes after the federal deduction.
Health Care Workforce – Increase and strengthen the health and long term care workforce, including their education and training, in order to have in place an adequate workforce trained and prepared to take on the needs of an aging population.
Rebalancing Long Term Care – Support action to rebalance long term care funding in Alabama, as well as protecting funding for Medicaid. Nationally, 73% of Medicaid spending on long term care services for older adults and adults with physical disabilities pays for nursing home care. In Alabama, 92% goes to nursing home care and only 8% goes to home- and community-based services.
Utility Reform – Promote comprehensive public participation and consumer protections within the processes of utility regulation and the operation of the Alabama Public Service Commission. All consumers must be able to rely on the availability of safe, affordable and high-quality utility and communications services.
Elder Abuse Protections – Support measures to expand the existing laws regarding prevention, intervention and resolution of elder abuse and neglect to include all home- and community- based service providers and direct care workers. We support the creation and the classification of the crime of criminal neglect of a vulnerable adult as a tiered felony, and the establishment of a mandatory death reporting system in all long term care settings to provide more accountability and improve safety within the continuum of care.
Insurance Rate Review – Support legislation giving the Alabama Insurance Department authority to approve rate increases for health insurance companies.