As the 2021 Texas legislative session nears its finish, AARP Texas applauds state lawmakers who championed meaningful bills that seek to increase consumer protection, improve healthcare and promote financial resilience.
“Older Texans and their families who have been hard hit by the pandemic and this year’s winter storm have been looking to the Texas Legislature to address crucial needs,” said AARP Texas Director Tina Tran. “AARP Texas has worked closely with lawmakers throughout the 2021 session. We sincerely appreciate the legislators who have fought for older Texans and their families.”
While the Legislature’s business continues through Monday, various measures supported by AARP Texas have passed or are nearing final action. They include bills and budget items that will:
- Strengthen the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR) by providing a wellness check to medically fragile Texans during an emergency or natural disaster.
- Take steps toward weatherizing some parts of the electricity supply system.
- Improve the quality of care in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, including funding for more nursing home inspectors, monies to improve nursing home staffing, and studies pertaining to quality of care in assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
- Require long-term care facilities to disclose to current and prospective residents if they are state certified to provide Alzheimer’s care.
- Expand access to high-speed internet through the establishment of a broadband plan and state office.
- Enhance food security for the hungry by making it easier for older Texans, as well as Texans with disabilities and no earned income, to access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
- Bolster emergency communications for when disaster or power outages threaten to strike.
- Protect consumers against health-related price gouging.
- Ensure greater transparency in hospital billing.
- Improve prescription drug affordability and price transparency.
- Add a preventative dental benefit for some low-income seniors on Medicaid.
- Restore funding so courts can protect vulnerable Texans under guardianship.
- Create additional tools to thwart elder financial exploitation, including increased penalties and more authority for investigators.
- Analyze the impact of revising the government’s long-term care payment systems in hopes of encouraging better use of community-based care rather than more-expensive institutional care.
To schedule interviews with AARP Texas’ legislative advocates, contact Mark Hollis at email@example.com or call 512.480.2429.