— Legislators, policy experts, and health care representatives will take questions from the public on the proposal to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program at a series of public forums across the Commonwealth. The community forums — sponsored by AARP Virginia, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the HAV (Healthcare for All Virginians coalition) — will be held in the Richmond area, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg and Lynchburg over the next two weeks. The Virginia General Assembly will return to Richmond in …

—   The U.S. Health care system spends well over $300 billion a year on prescription drugs, and almost three-fourths of that goes to brand name drugs, even though they make up less than one in eight prescriptions. The escalating costs of pharmaceuticals are driving up health care costs and premiums in both the employer and individual market. While several proposals exist at the federal level to address this problem, little – if any – action has occurred.  This has led …

— Thousands of Virginians don’t have health insurance because their employers don’t offer it or they can’t afford it.   If Virginia lawmakers were to take advantage of enhanced federal funding, the state could provide Medicaid coverage for up to 400,000 additional individuals. If you don’t have health insurance, we want to hear from you.  Tell us how the lack of health care coverage affects your life.  We won’t share your story without your permission. Email us at gthompson@aarp.org.    

— RICHMOND _   AARP volunteers head to the Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday to ask legislators to improve programs that help Virginians who need health care coverage and those in long-term care facilities, as well as to create a program to help workers save for retirement.   With more than 1.1 million members in Virginia, AARP is the largest organization working on behalf of people age 50+ in the Commonwealth.  In recent years, AARP Virginia has successfully fought for protections for …

—   AARP Virginia state advocacy volunteers will be fighting for Virginians age 50+ at state budget hearings on January 3. The volunteers will speak at regional public hearings of The House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees of the Virginia General Assembly.  The committees are holding the hearings to solicit comments from the public on the Governor’s proposed 2018-2020 biennial state budget. AARP volunteers will tell the legislators to fund programs important to Virginians, especially those in long-term care facilities, and …

— By Jill Gambon During her 35 years working for the Social Security Administration, Louise Myers witnessed the impact the program has had on people’s lives. As a retiree, Myers wants to make sure Social Security remains intact. That’s one reason she’s a volunteer advocate with AARP Massachusetts. “I am a firm believer in keeping Social Security protected,” said Myers, of North Chelmsford. “I saw that my voice could be heard through AARP advocacy work.” Myers is one of about a …

— By Vanessa Ho Every weekend, Mark Diimmel goes out for dinner and a movie with his sister, who often takes him to get Chinese or Italian food, or maybe burgers and a milkshake. Diimmel, 64, has schizophrenia and lives in an adult family home in Bremerton, paid for by Medicaid and Social Security. But the outings have become more difficult. Everything costs more, while his personal-needs allowance—the amount of income Diimmel is allowed to keep for himself—has remained the same, …

— The state is facing budget cuts, and AARP is fighting to keep the burden from falling on Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens. In September, Gov. Matt Blevin (R) asked most state agencies to cut their budgets by 17.4 percent to avert a $200 million shortfall. Although Medicaid payments would be exempt, most services administered by the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living would not. Kentucky ranks 50th among the states in the percentage of Medicaid long-term care dollars allocated to …

— Greetings from AARP Maine! As 2017 comes to a close, I am happy to share our latest member newsletter with you. It has been quite a year for AARP in Maine! Our team of staff and volunteers worked tirelessly all year to protect programs that impact Mainers 50+ at the federal level and you can count on us to fight hard on these issues in 2018. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, a proposed health tax and age tax have all been …

— By Miriam Davidson Marquetta White knew that her 91-year-old father, who cares for her 87-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, could benefit from a support group. But the retired state employee and social worker had trouble convincing him. “He’d tell me, ‘I don’t need to go cry on someone’s shoulder,’ ” said White, 66, of Mesa. “Then a funny thing happened: He went, and he loved it. “Now, he still won’t listen to me, but he listens to the people in …