— By Bob Jackson As members of Congress return home to their districts in Texas this Presidents Day week, we – the citizens who put them in office — have an opportunity to remind them of this: Medicare is a deal that was made long ago with all Americans. Congress has a duty to protect it! Proposals to turn Medicare into a voucher system would take health care in precisely the wrong direction — pushing up costs for current and future …

— Diverse coalition of 20 organizations represents consumer, business and health care stakeholders A group of diverse organizations representing consumers and business, and a broad range of health care stakeholders have come together to form the Coalition for Health Care Access. This group of 20 business and consumer-advocacy groups, including AARP, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Texas Association of Business and the Texas Public Policy Foundation are supporting HB 1415 and SB 681, which will expand access to health care by …

— By Charlene Hunter James Black History Month is once again upon us, providing a time to reflect on the history of African-Americans and the events which have shaped the course of history for many in this country. During this time, one of the things that gives me pause for reflection is the belief that there are endless possibilities in our lives. AARP, the organization that I volunteer for and have the honor to serve as Texas president, refers to this …

— Tax season is notorious for being a springtime headache. From meeting strict deadlines, to trying to use a reliable service, taxes can create some unwanted stress. That’s why AARP Foundation Tax-Aide started nearly five decades ago. In 1970, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide was imagined during a Naval Reserve exercise. Now it serves nearly 2.7 million taxpayers annually. Admiral Bernie Nash was informed by a Naval Reserve officer, who was also an IRS official, that older taxpayers were cheating themselves out of …

— Nursing homes in Texas are escaping accountability for hurting residents and jeopardizing their health, according to a new report by AARP Texas. The report, “Intolerable Care: A snapshot of the Texas nursing home quality crisis,” finds that the quality of roughly 1,200 nursing facilities where 93,000 Texans reside, is shamefully poor and worse than what exists in most other states. It identifies numerous, long-standing, and severe problems that can be rectified with stronger state enforcement powers. AARP Texas Director Bob …

— The second week of the Texas legislative session saw the unveiling of dueling budget proposals from House and Senate leaders who are starting negotiations over state spending billions of dollars apart and at odds over several key priorities. Both proposals fail to identify funding for a Lifespan Respite Program that’s considered invaluable to many unpaid family caregivers in Texas. More than 3 million Texans are caring each day for an aging parent or loved one, helping them to live independently …

— And they’re off! Lawmakers are gathering in Austin today for the start of the 140-day regular session of the Texas Legislature, facing a tight state spending picture, varying priorities from their leaders and a heavy workload of thorny issues to settle on behalf of the state’s 27 million residents. The House and Senate looks much the same as they did two years ago. Republicans run both chambers, with a 20-11 majority in the Senate and a 95-55 hold on the …

— As members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, Austin and Fort Worth have developed strategic plans to prepare for the needs of an aging population. Although Austin has a youthful reputation, its share of people 55 and older is among the fastest growing in the nation. In November, the Austin City Council approved an age-friendly action plan, with implications for parks, recreational facilities, farmers markets, emergency responders, housing, public transportation, sidewalks and more. And after a series of public …

— When state lawmakers convene next month for the 2017 legislative session, AARP Texas will pursue an agenda that includes strengthening nursing home quality, easing stress for family caregivers, helping millions of Texans save for retirement, and protecting seniors from financial exploitation. AARP’s non-partisan Texas legislative priorities also include a focus on eliminating surprise medical bills, and advocating for the age 50+ community to ensure that insurance costs are reasonable, coverage is reliable, and utility services are affordable and dependable. The …

— Austin is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation, with a population of more than 930,000. Like other Texas cities, it’s car-focused, which means frequently long commutes and roadway congestion. Despite the daily traffic messes, public transit ridership has not increased significantly in recent years. Though it offers a robust transportation network of more than 360 buses, 82 bus routes, 220 vanpools, 171 paratransit vehicles, and a 32-mile rail line, Capital Metro passenger numbers are mostly stagnant, with …