Each year, AARP Massachusetts selects state legislative priorities that are consistent with the policies adopted by AARP’s national Board of Directors. These priorities are based on the needs of the commonwealth’s residents and developed through feedback from member surveys, general member communications, and AARP-sponsored hearings and events.
We know that the fiscal challenges facing Massachusetts continue. But we also know that critical programs that serve the most vulnerable among us must be protected, both for current seniors and future generations. The aging population of our state will continue to grow along with its unique issues relating to health and long term care needs.
In 2013, our focus is on protecting and improving in-home and community-based long-term care services, protecting vulnerable seniors from elder abuse, improving health care access and quality, and making health care affordable.
A quick snapshot of these four priorities:
1. Helping people stay in their own home and community.
- Eliminate the Home Care Waiting List to enable the over 1,000 eligible seniors to receive the care they have qualified for to help them remain in their homes and communities.
- Strengthen and rebalance long-term services and supports – from high quality, affordable skilled nursing facilities to home care – for today’s seniors and those who will need these services in the next decades.
- Advocate for integral community services, supports, and social opportunities for older adults through Councils on Aging and Senior Centers.
- Preserve the Nursing Home Bed Hold program to give nursing home residents the opportunity to return to their own bed after a short-term absence.
- Ensure safe, affordable and reliable public transportation alternatives through the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority and Regional Transit Authorities.
2. Protecting against elder abuse.
Strengthen Elder Protective Services to be able to adequately provide needed protective services to elders, who face physical, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect by a caregiver, self-neglect and/or financial exploitation.
3. Improving health care access and quality.
Monitor the Affordable Care Act implementation and Medicaid expansion processes and legislation to guarantee adherence to federal timelines and seamless integration for consumers; including the establishment of an active and consumer-friendly health insurance exchange by the end of the year.
4. Making health care and prescription medication affordable.
- Ensure Health Care Cost Containment remains effective in the reform of the health care delivery and payment systems in Massachusetts in order to reduce overall cost growth while improving quality.
- Restore Academic Detailing as an independent and objective drug education program for doctors.
- Guarantee the Prescription Advantage program remains adequately funded to protect enrollees from coverage gaps in Medicare Part D and provide help with premiums and cost-sharing.
- Restrict Drug Company marketing practices to limit influences of brand selection by maintaining and strengthening the Rx Gift Ban Law.