AARP Maine, the Next Legislative Session, and Your Questions for the Candidates
As we do every year, throughout the 2014 legislative session, AARP Maine will track bills that impact Mainers 50+ such as health and consumer issues, prescription drug costs, and state budget decisions. We will then publish periodic updates on our website and a full legislative voting summary at the end of the session that will be shared with our more than 230,000 members statewide.
AARP is expecting strong legislative leadership from both sides of the aisle in 2014 as the state addresses both the revenue and spending sides of the budget. We feel that a balanced approach is essential.
AARP Maine staff and volunteers will focus our public policy work on health and financial security for older Mainers. AARP supports implementation of the Affordable Care Act and is urging state lawmakers to adopt the option to extend Medicaid coverage. Health care must be affordable for Maine’s citizens. Proposals that shift rising costs onto Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries would greatly impact many Maine seniors who live on a fixed income of less than $20,000 a year. Increasingly, Maine residents between the ages of 50-64 are left with no option for coverage or one they cannot afford. You will no doubt hear more from us on this critical issue.
Another priority for AARP Maine concerns long-term care. AARP surveys indicate that nine out of ten Maine residents 50 and older want to stay in their own homes and local communities as long as possible. AARP Maine will advocate for improving the balance of funding for home and community-based services that delivers this result. We will also be advocating for continued support of programs such as Drugs for the Elderly and the Medicare Savings Program which are vital to Maine’s most at-risk residents.
For retirees on fixed incomes, rising utility costs can become unmanageable. AARP believes that electric utility and telecommunications rates must be fair and that current consumer protections should be kept in place. AARP will support rate assistance programs for low-income customers and for those whose health needs mandate access to affordable service.
Older adults in Maine are increasingly the target of financial exploitation; financial industry research indicates that most investment fraud victims are between 55 and 65 years of age. You may recall that earlier in 2013, AARP became aware of a new telephone scam involving callers who pretend to be AARP representatives “verifying” membership information including bank account numbers. If you ever suspect fraud, please contact your local police department to report it immediately. Working together, we can help put a stop to fraud in Maine.
AARP Maine looks forward to working with Governor LePage and state lawmakers to ensure that Maine continues to be a place where people 50+ want to live, work and retire. For more information or to get involved, contact AARP Maine at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-554-5380.
Also in preparation for next year—when Maine will hold elections for governor, one U.S. Senate seat and both U.S. House seats—AARP Maine wants to hear from members about which issues they want candidates to address.
AARP could ask gubernatorial candidates, for example, about their plans to lower utility costs, improve long-term care services, provide affordable health care or improve transportation.
Questions for congressional candidates could focus on issues such as strengthening Social Security, reducing Medicare fraud, improving long-term care options and protecting programs such as home-heating assistance.
To share issues that matter to you, email email@example.com, call toll-free at 1-866-554-5380, or connect at facebook.com/aarpmaine.
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