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AARP Outlines Legislative Agenda to Support the Needs of North Carolinians Age 50 Plus

See priorities here: 217527 NC Priorities Brochure LoRes pdf

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Making changes to the healthcare system is the common theme for AARP North Carolina. Today the organization outlined its legislative agenda for 2013 and beyond where AARP and its volunteers from around the state will be emphasizing the need for broader health care coverage and will be calling on lawmakers to support family caregivers and home and community-based health care services.

AARP State Director Doug Dickerson explained, “The state has to do a better job of meeting the needs of its growing 50-plus population. Since nine-out-of-ten Americans want to stay in their homes as long as possible and home care costs payers less than inpatient care, it makes good sense to support programs that help family caregivers, lower health care cost growth and help people live more enjoyable lives.”

In addition to the expanding programs and initiatives that aid family caregivers and provide options for older adults to live in their homes, AARP is advocating for a consumer-oriented health benefits exchange that will help people get the coverage and benefits provided by the new federal health care law.

AARP State President and former hospital administrator James Wall said, “Healthcare is an unavoidable necessity and the new law will make it more affordable for many more North Carolinians.  We must make sure consumers have a strong voice in the state and federal partnership North Carolina will be working on to implement the new law.”

Dickerson added, “Of equal importance to personal health is both the health of the economy and of our family finances. We need to improve retirement security by increasing savings rates in North Carolina and by strengthening Social Security and Medicare for our members and their families.”

In a recent member survey, 90 percent of North Carolina respondents said Social Security it one of their top economic concerns and over 30 percent reported a reduction in savings and income over the past two years.

For those still working, there is great concern that North Carolina has been reeling from decades of job losses and older workers are often unmatched for job vacancies. To make the state a desired place for 50 plus workers, AARP will be working with employers and policymakers to develop ways to help current workers stay employed and older workers get back into the workforce.”

AARP is also focused on what has become a significant portion of monthly household expenses – utility rates. AARP is fighting to keep utility rates affordable as Progress Energy is asking the NC Utilities Commission for a 17 percent rate hike and Duke is expected to ask for a similar increase.  “AARP feels sizable increases are unacceptable in today’s economy as home utility costs put limited income residents and fixed income seniors at great risk forcing the choice between paying for groceries and medicine or electricity,” Dickerson said.

He concluded “AARP North Carolina is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age. In 2013 we will continue to champion health security by supporting efforts to reduce the number of uninsured. At the same time we will be working to increase employment opportunities for older workers, and make North Carolina a better place to work and live.”

Photo by Mr T in DC courtesy of Flickr

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