Now that the dust has settled from the recent elections, the real work of governing begins. With a new governor taking office and a host of new faces joining the Connecticut General Assembly in January, AARP has begun to lay the groundwork for our upcoming advocacy efforts on behalf of our members and all older adults in Connecticut.
During the election season, AARP sought the views and positions of all candidates for statewide office, including governor, attorney general, U.S. senate, and U.S. representatives, as well as local senate and house seats, on a variety of issues that are important to 50+ voters. Our voter guides were widely distributed and also made available online. During the upcoming legislative session, which begins January 5, 2011, AARP Connecticut will continue our work on these critical issues and hold our elected officials accountable for the campaign promises they made.
Protecting the Safety Net
Safe-guarding safety net programs, health and human services for older adults will be a major focus of AARP’s legislative advocacy efforts in Connecticut in 2011. Connecticut is once again facing a significant budget deficit estimated at $3.5 billion for fiscal year 2012 which threatens many of the safety net programs and human services that older residents rely on.
Last year, AARP Connecticut successfully advocated to preserve funding for the municipal Dial-A-Ride program, reduced the 15 percent co-pay on state-funded home care services, and reversed the governor’s decision to close the Alzheimer’s Respite Care program. These programs and others could potentially be under attack again this year as legislators look to close the state’s looming budget deficit.
Providing More Home- and Community-Based Care Options
Another major advocacy goal for AARP in 2011 will be maximizing home- and community-based services (HCBS) for older adults and persons with disabilities, as well as helping consumers understand and access the HCBS that are available to them. Home-care services help keep people out of nursing homes, allowing them to remain independent longer and ultimately saving the state millions of dollars in Medicaid costs. Eighty-nine percent of older adults in Connecticut prefer to receive care at home, rather than in a nursing home. Yet, Connecticut continues to spend a disproportionate share of its Medicaid long-term care dollars on more costly nursing home care.
Expanding Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care
AARP will be working with legislators and the new administration to effectively implement provisions of the new federal health care law in Connecticut to ensure that all residents have access to affordable, quality health care.
Lowering Energy Costs
AARP Connecticut also will continue fighting to lower electric rates for residents; Connecticut ratepayers pay among the highest rates in the continental United States and, on average, 15 percent higher than our neighboring states. Last year, AARP led an effort to bring about major electric market reforms. That legislation S.B. 493 passed both chambers of the General Assembly—the first time in three years that any significant energy legislation passed both chambers. Unfortunately, the bill was vetoed by Governor Rell. During his campaign, Governor-elect Dan Malloy indicated his support for the legislation and stated that he would sign the bill if it reached his desk.
Join the Fight
In the weeks ahead, AARP will be recruiting and training volunteers on these and other important public policy issues and engaging our chapters and members to help with this critical work.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with AARP Connecticut, or if you’d like to learn more about the issues we will be working on in 2011, please call us toll-free at 866-295-7279 or send us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Other ways to get involved:
Sign up to be an AARP Activist and receive e-mail action alerts from AARP when your voice can make a difference.
Connect with AARP Connecticut online and stay up to date with the latest news, information and local events.
Become a fan of AARPCT on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.