20140521_085534_resizedOlder Americans Act, Medicare, Age Discrimination, Transportation Safety Top the List of Issues Discussed

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, in the midst of Older Americans Month, AARP Iowa volunteers and staff visited Capitol Hill to urge their elected representatives to back bills, including the Older Americans Act, that can help Americans live their best lives. AARP Iowa State President Tony Vola and State Director Kent Sovern are visiting  the offices of the entire Iowa Congressional delegation including Senators Tom Harkin (D), Chuck Grassley (R), and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack, Tom Latham and Steve King, to discuss a variety of issues crucial to Iowans and all older Americans.

“This Congress has an opportunity to pass bipartisan legislation including the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, the landmark 1965 law that helps provide essential services to older Americans from Iowa, as well as millions of vulnerable older Americans,” said Kent Sovern, AARP Iowa State Director. During the month that celebrates and recognizes older Americans, we urge Congress to take action on a long list of issues that matter to our AARP Iowa members and their families.”

The issues that AARP Iowa raised with members of the House and Senate from every state include:

•    The Older Americans Act (S.1562 / H.R.3850): The reauthorization of the bipartisan Older Americans Act provides an array of programs and services to assist, protect, nourish and sustain the nation’s seniors with maximum dignity and independence.  Since 2010, AARP has consistently supported and urged a reauthorization with minor changes to strengthen and improve this crucial law.
•    Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR): Also known as the “Doc Fix,” Medicare beneficiaries and doctors shouldn’t have to deal with the uncertainty of short term solution after short term solution.  Doctors and their patients deserve a stable, predictable reimbursement system that will encourage doctors and providers to deliver high-quality care.  AARP supports a permanent repeal of SGR and a move toward a reimbursement system that promotes quality and value without shifting costs onto beneficiaries through higher cost-sharing or reduced benefits.
•    Responsible Solutions for Medicare’s Adequacy and Solvency: AARP believes we can improve Medicare solvency by creating savings throughout the entire healthcare system by finding ways to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse; improving care coordination; and lowering prescription costs.  This must also be achieved without shifting costs onto beneficiaries through higher cost-sharing or reduced benefits.
•    The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) (S.1391 / H.R.2852): The passage of the bipartisan POWADA would protect workers by reestablishing the principle that unlawful discrimination of any sort should not play a role in workplace decisions.  A recent Supreme Court decision made it more difficult for older workers to prove claims of illegal bias based on age.
•    The Safe Streets Act (S.2004 / H.R.2468): The passage of the bipartisan Safe Streets Act would ensure that planners and traffic engineers design, construct, and operate roads with the safety of all users in mind by directing states and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to create a “safe streets” policy within two years of enactment.  The policy would be different for each locality based on their individual communities.

As Congress gets closer to a midterm election expected to once again see the influence of older voters, AARP’s volunteers hope that their issues resonate clearly before they head to the voting booths in November.