AARP AARP States Iowa Advocacy

AARP Leaders, Advocates Lobby to Protect Medicare, Support Iowa Family Caregivers

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AARP Iowa leaders announced the association's 2017 top state legislative priority and Presidents Day Congressional Recess activities to a gathering of more than 90 AARP volunteers from across Iowa at the State Capitol on Tuesday.

"AARP has a long history of fighting for both affordable health care and family caregivers," said Kent Sovern, AARP Iowa State Director. "Today, as members of Congress are home in Iowa for President's Day recess activities, we are launching our Protect Medicare campaign to preserve this bedrock of health security for the more than 540,000 Iowa families who depend on their earned benefits. We are also here at the Capitol to lobby our state leaders to stand up for the more than 317,000 Iowa family caregivers to have better supports to care for their loved ones."

Sovern said with potential cuts to Medicare being discussed by Congress, AARP has launched a bold, multi-level effort (www.aarp.org/ProtectMedicare) including national grassroots and adovcacy ad campaigns. This week, AARP Iowa volunteers will be meeting with Iowa's Congressional delegation staff and members during Presidents Day recess to urge them to oppose any attempts to cut Medicare or eliminate the guaranteed health care coverage that has been part of Medicare from the start.

"Medicare helps keep older Iowans out of poverty and enables them to live with independence and dignity. Medicare is not an entitlement – workers have earned their benefits and paid into the system with every paycheck throughout their working lives," Sovern said.

To support Iowa's unpaid family caregivers, who provide more than two-thirds of Iowa’s long-term, home and community based care for older Iowans and adults with disabilities, leaders urged action on their top 2017 legislative priority: passage of the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act. AARP is advocating that Iowa join 35 other states in passing legislation to help better support the 65% of Iowa family caregivers providing medical care for their loved ones at home, particularly after a hospital stay.

"As a recent caregiving recipient, I support passage of the CARE Act to ensure that family caregivers get the adequate instruction they need before they leave the hospital," said AARP Iowa Executive Council member Chuck Betts of Keokuk. "My recent knee replace situation reflects what a 2015 AARP research study revealed - that only 50 percent of Iowa families are getting adequate instruction for caring for their loved ones post-hospital stay.  We were in the 50 percent who did not get thorough instruction. Thank you for joining with me today to make sure our lawmakers know that it is critical all Iowa families have the same chance to provide the most informed, confident care for their loved ones by passing the CARE Act this session."

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