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by Drew Jubera, AARP Bulletin, October 1, 2010
Voters have the opportunity to set a new course for Georgia as they choose a new governor and eight other statewide officeholders on Nov. 2.
These newly elected officials will decide how older Georgians fare in these rocky economic times, magnified by a budget shortfall expected to reach about $2 billion by 2012.
Here are the issues that are most vital to older people in the upcoming election:
"It's much cheaper and cost-effective and a better quality of life to keep folks home rather than putting them in a nursing home," said Roy Barnes, the Democrat who wants to return to the governor's office. He supports more in-home care.
Nathan Deal, Republican candidate for governor and 10-term congressman, supports programs that "encourage taking care of people in less costly settings." He suggested the possibility of tax incentives to encourage people to buy long-term care insurance so the government doesn't end up shouldering the burden later.
Deal voted against the health care law; Barnes supports it but says it is a "work in progress" and some aspects should be modified so states are not overwhelmed.
"Our state is one of those that needs more competition in the private health insurance market, and I look forward to working with our new insurance commissioner to try to figure out what we can do to get more competition," Deal said.
Barnes said the reforms could allow companies to form "pools" to forge the greatest buying power, possibly across state lines.
The statewide races on the ballot: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, school superintendent, and commissioners of agriculture, insurance, labor and public service.
For details on where the candidates stand on the issues, check out AARP's voters' guide.
Drew Jubera is a freelance writer living in Atlanta.
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