On behalf of more than 250,000 members in the Mountain State, and all West Virginians 50+ and their families, AARP’s state legislative priorities in 2022 are focused on expanding home and community-based services to make sure people have choice in how they live as they age, expanding access to high speed internet service, protecting older West Virginians against fraud and financial exploitation, and ensuring that individuals of all ages have the financial resilience to take control of their retirement.
REFORMING OUR SYSTEM OF LONG-TERM CARE
More than 800 residents and staff of long-term care facilities in West Virginia have lost their lives to COVID-19. AARP urges lawmakers to take steps to fundamentally reform the way long-term care is delivered to expand home- and community-based services and supports, increase equity in the long-term care system and re-double efforts to build a quality workforce.
STRENGTHENING THE HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM
Approximately 300,000 West Virginia family caregivers provide an estimated $2.8 billion in unpaid care annually to adult loved ones. In 2022, AARP will advocate for laws that support family caregivers and their loved ones by removing barriers to telehealth services and allowing nurses to practice up to the full extent of their education and training, including Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and CRNAs. The COVID pandemic has amplified that West Virginias need options about where and how they receive health care services, including in the communities where they live or right at home.
SUPPORTING OUR GROWING RELIANCE ON HIGH-SPEED INTERNET
Affordable, reliable high-speed internet is an essential service for our members, for our workforce, for health care delivery and for social connection. In 2022, AARP will advocate for legislation that bridges the digital divide by including consumer protections and customer choice; supporting the goals of the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council; and, supporting broadband infrastructure investment that address all barriers to broadband adoption, which include affordability, availability, and quality of service as well as digital literacy.
EASING FINANCIAL STRESS, ENSURING FINANCIAL RESILIENCE TO TAKE CONTROL OF RETIREMENT
- AARP urges state lawmakers to carefully consider all impacts of tax proposals that would disproportionately shift tax burdens to low income taxpayers or those living on fixed incomes.
- AARP will work to improve retirement income security and ensure the rights and benefits of current pension recipients are not undermined or reduced.
COMBATTING FRAUD AND FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION
Scams and frauds continue to be a financial threat to many older West Virginians. AARP will continue to seek both legislative and regulatory changes that better protect consumers from scams and fraud by focusing on prevention, intervention, recovery, and strengthened enforcement.
ENSURING ACCESS TO ESSENTIAL SERVICES
Older West Virginians, veterans and grand families depend upon critical federal, state and non-profit based programs that keep people fed, and help maintain their health and well-being. AARP urges state lawmakers to expand access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, support and evaluate programs providing nutritious meals & services, especially those programs supporting our grand families.