AARP Vermont commissioned this study of members in the state to assess their opinions on issues of importance to individuals age 50 and older that are framing debates in 2006 elections. While some of the issues explored in the survey, such as health care and Medicare, are more pertinent to national campaigns, others with more state and local implications were also included to help inform policy discussions during the elections and beyond.
The mail survey of 1,048 AARP Vermont members revealed that:
- More than eight in ten respondents (81%) agree that major health care reform should be enacted.
- Eighty-three percent think the federal government should see that everyone has at least a minimum health benefit.
- Nine in ten agree that Medicare should be allowed to use its bargaining power to negotiate lower drug prices, and 71% say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who also supported this proposal.
- Three-quarters (76%) agree that Medicare should be expanded to cover long-term care (LTC).
- Most respondents feel it is extremely important to have services that would enable them to stay at home as long as possible if they needed LTC (65%) and would be more likely to vote for candidates for state office who supported initiatives to make this happen (81%).
- Eight in ten (81%) believe that more should be done to develop affordable senior housing.
- Seventy-three percent think it is important that Vermont increase its funding for public transportation programs, particularly those serving older adults and persons with disabilities.
- Nearly seven in ten (68%) say they support the Vermont legislature creating and funding a state program that helps make electricity affordable to households with low incomes, and most (65%) would still support such a program, even if everyone had to pay $1.25 each month to pay for it.
A random sample of 1,048 AARP Vermont members returned completed questionnaires between July 26 and August 23, 2006. For more information, contact Gretchen Straw at 202-434-6334.