AARP Announces 2017 State Capitol Caregivers and Super Savers

AARP Announces 2017 State Capitol Caregivers and Super Savers


In addition to advocating for older Americans in the halls of Congress, AARP staff and volunteers are working on the ground in all 50 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to make a difference in people’s lives through advocacy. This year, we have helped enact state policies to support more than 30 million family caregivers and provide thousands of workers with a new way to save for retirement.

Achieving these results took a lot of hard work and dedication from state legislators, governors and other elected officials. They worked together – often across party lines – to write, support, and advance commonsense policies that make people’s day-to-day lives a little bit easier and gives them more financial security in their retirement.

To recognize these elected leaders, AARP is proud to announce our fourth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers who fought to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones along with our third annual bipartisan class of Super Savers who fought to help more Americans retire with confidence.

Capitol Caregivers
Every day, 40 million Americans help parents, spouses and other loved ones live independently at home, where they want to be. Family caregiving is a labor of love, to be sure, but it can also be a challenge. Care responsibilities can include providing transportation, cooking meals, managing finances, performing complex medical tasks, helping with bathing and dressing, and so much more. Sixty percent of family caregivers juggle full- or part-time jobs with their caregiving duties, and many are still raising their families.

AARP is fighting for commonsense solutions to make these big responsibilities a little bit easier—and we’ve seen real progress in states across the country.

AARP’s 2017 class of Capitol Caregivers recognizes 91 state legislators, five governors, one lieutenant governor, and one justice from more than 30 states, who advanced policies that:

A list of AARP’s 2017 Capitol Caregivers and the legislation they championed can be found here.

Super Savers
Today, 45 percent of working-age households have no retirement savings at all. At AARP, we believe everyone should be able to retire with confidence. That’s why we’re fighting for Work and Save plans that give more workers access to a payroll deduction retirement savings plan. Employees who are able to save for retirement out of their regular paychecks are 15 times more likely to save.

AARP’s third class of Super Savers includes six state legislators and two state treasurers who were integral to the passage of state-facilitated retirement programs in 2017.

A list of AARP’s 2017 Super Savers and the legislation they championed can be found here.

More work to do . . .
In 2018, AARP will continue to work with elected state leaders across the country to fight for the issues that matter to you and your families. To stay up-to-date on our progress, or get involved, sign up here.

More information
2014 Capitol Caregivers

2015 Capitol Caregivers
2016 Capitol Caregivers

2015 Super Savers
2016 Super Savers


Nancy LeaMond is AARP chief advocacy and engagement officer. She leads the organization’s Communities, State and National Group, including government relations, advocacy and public education for AARP’s social change agenda. LeaMond also has responsibility for AARP’s state operation, which includes offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

You can follow her on Twitter @NancyLeaMond.

 



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State Guardianship Systems Require Expedited Reform

State Guardianship Systems Require Expedited Reform


Recent news articles spotlight egregious acts conducted by court-appointed guardians against the older individuals entrusted in their care. These reports highlight some of the worst situations occurring within a system that requires expedited improvement, now.

AARP has long fought for state laws to protect older individuals—and their assets—from abuse, and to make sure guardians—public, private, and family caregivers—have the information they need to do their job. Over the past 4 years alone, AARP State Offices across the country have passed more than 45 guardianship-specific laws to address this serious issue.

But more needs to be done, including clamping down on the bad actors by increasing court monitoring, oversight and training of guardians, and mechanisms to follow up with protected individuals.  Specifically, AARP believes reforms must emphasize, at minimum:

  • The Individual: Every individual has different needs and preferences. State laws should emphasize individualized guardianship plans and require courts to order less restrictive options for individuals who are capable of making their own decisions.

 

  • The Guardian: State laws must spell out the duties and responsibilities of a guardian, providing a standard for decision-making focused on the expectations of the person under guardianship, and outline standards of practice and training requirements.  It also must provide a detailed procedure for getting rid of bad actors.

 

  • The Courts: State laws should guide judges to use the least restrictive option available when considering cases for guardianship, including supported decision making, and focus on court oversight and monitoring to help prevent abuse and exploitation.

AARP will continue to work, on a state by state basis, to urge policy makers to ramp up reform of the adult guardianship system because no elder should face abuse or exploitation, especially at the hand of the person tasked with their protection.

For now, if you suspect abuse of a protected individual by a guardian, here’s how to get help:

If you have a story to share about your experience as a guardian for an older individual, we encourage you to visit aarp.org/iheartcaregivers.

To sign up for updates on AARP’s advocacy efforts in your state, click here.


Elaine Ryan is the vice president of state advocacy and strategy integration (SASI) for AARP. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff members who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with governors and state legislators, helping people 50-plus attain and maintain their health and financial security.

Photo: iStock/LPETTET 



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AARP Issues Statement on Recent Senate Vote to Proceed on Health Care Bill

AARP Issues Statement on Recent Senate Vote to Proceed on Health Care Bill


In response to Tuesday’s Senate vote on the motion to proceed to consider a health care bill that would cut Medicare and Medicaid and impose an Age Tax on older Americans, AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond released the following statement:

“AARP is disheartened that a majority of Senators voted to move forward on a bill that would devastate millions of Americans. Today’s vote means the Senate is one step closer to passing legislation that will price gouge people over age 50 and strip health insurance from tens of millions of Americans.

“AARP will continue fighting to stop the Senate from passing any bill that increases costs, imposes an Age Tax, strips coverage from people, cuts Medicare, and cuts the Medicaid services seniors need to stay in their homes.

“Any Senator considering voting for the health care bill should understand the consequences of ignoring AARP’s 38 million members. People over age 50 overwhelmingly vote and they will remember who voted to give them a $13,000 premium hike. AARP will print every Senator’s vote in AARP Bulletin, a publication read by 30.4 million people.

“None of the current bills is the right way to fix health care. AARP stands ready to work with Congress on bipartisan solutions that will lower costs and improve care.”

To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.



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AARP Heads to Reno to Urge Nevada Lawmakers to Protect Patients First in National Health Reform

AARP Heads to Reno to Urge Nevada Lawmakers to Protect Patients First in National Health Reform


Health care.

It’s the reason patients, doctors, hospitals and several leading national advocacy organizations, including AARP, gathered in Reno on Wednesday morning. They were gathered to highlight concerns Nevadans have about health reform proposals being discussed in Congress, specifically the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in May.

“We have an urgent mission, combining our strength to implore the U.S. Senate to scrap the harmful act that the House passed on May 4th,” said President of AARP’s Board of Directors Eric Schneidewind. “We have joined forces to urge the Senate to start fresh, to create a new bill that hangs on to the hard-won health insurance protections that Americans have gained in recent years. We need a bipartisan bill that will put patients first.”

Under the AHCA, 440,000 Nevadans under age 65 (25 percent of the population) with pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease, could see their insurance premiums skyrocket. Additionally, the AHCA would cut $839 billion from Medicaid nationally over 10 years which would have a significant impact on Nevada residents; this includes 51,000 people ages 65 and older, 73,000 people with disabilities and 245,000 men, women and children who receive addiction treatment through Medicaid.

The groups’ top spokespeople urged Nevada lawmakers to Protect Patients First, addressing shortcomings in four key areas: affordability of insurance, access to essential care, protection for those on Medicaid and protection for those with employer-sponsored health insurance.

“Our groups have diverse interests but we share a deep concern about the dire effects of this house-passed bill,” Schneidewind says.

This is the second event of the Protect Patients First series that organizers are hosting in states across the country. The first event was held in Ohio. The groups plan to host events in Colorado and West Virginia in the weeks ahead. The hope is to get the attention of Congress to Protect Patients First and take a bipartisan approach to reforming a health care system that focuses on the health of all Americans.

For details on future health events reach out to media@aarp.org and follow @AARPMedia.



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Thank You, Nurses.

Thank You, Nurses.


During National Nurses Week, I am making a special effort to say, “thank you,” to all the nurses in my life, and I invite you to do the same. Each and every day, in communities across the country, nurses help their patients to get and stay well.  They use their incredible skills to comfort us in difficult times, and care for us when we’re at our most vulnerable.

For America’s 40 million family caregivers, nurses often become even more heroic as they help us care for our parents, spouses and other loved ones. For me, Nurse Sue was an invaluable member of our family’s team. Her assistance was critical to keeping my Mom safe at home.

Family caregivers often share their stories with us on I Heart Caregivers and the @AARPadvocates Facebook page.  It seems many also have their own versions of Nurse Sue:

Judith: “I could not have been my mother’s caregiver without all the care and advice given to me by the nurses. THANK YOU ALL.”

Nana: “When my husband was alive the nurses were angels. They really took care of my husband in our home, especially the hospice ones, they were just awesome.”

Barbara: “Where would we be without them [nurses] to care for us & our families when we need them?”

Dolores: “Nurses are in a league of their own! They do such wonderful work and it often goes unnoticed. I have a lot of admiration for nurses!”

Nurses heal. Red tape doesn’t. 
That’s why AARP is fighting to cut through the red tape that prevents nurse practitioners—and all advanced practice registered nurses—from doing their jobs. Right now, 28 states still have outdated rules that restrict nurse practitioners from using all their skills and training to provide primary and preventative care, including:

  • routine health care such as diagnosing and treating patients,
  • management of chronic conditions,
  • ordering lab tests,
  • prescribing medications
  • performing annual exams
  • and much, much more

Keep in mind: nurse practitioners have master’s or doctoral degrees and advanced training, so they can give patients the care we count on. By modernizing state rules, patients, family caregivers—and our loved ones—will have better opportunity to receive the care we need, when and where we need it.  And, yes, this means: at home and in our communities.

To all nurses, again, I give you my thanks.  Your caring helped make me a better, stronger family caregiver. For that, alone, I am grateful.

Where does your state stand when it comes to rules that allow nurse practitioners to do their jobs?

Sign up to get involved and help AARP cut the red tape.


Elaine Ryan is the vice president of state advocacy and strategy integration (SASI) for AARP. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff members who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with governors and state legislators, helping people 50-plus attain and maintain their health and financial security.



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AARP Public Pension Guide Breaks Down Complex Issue for Elected Officials

AARP Public Pension Guide Breaks Down Complex Issue for Elected Officials


Pop and his grandaughter

My pop was a bus driver for 25 years.  Once in retirement, I would have loved my Mom and Pop to relocate to D.C. to live with me. But they loved their life and community and wanted to age in their own home – just like millions of Americans.

Luckily, pop had a public pension, which gave him and my mom the financial security they needed to retire with confidence and dignity—and to keep living independently in their own home.  Pop worked hard and counted on having his pension for their financial security. Firefighters, nurses, teachers, and other public employees all across America also count on their public pensions.  

Exactly for this reason, it’s critical that our elected officials and those who advise them understand how public pensions operate. This helps them meet the needs of employees and retirees, as well as employers and taxpayers.

To help with this effort, AARP has created a new public pension resource, Understanding Public Pensions: A Guide for Elected Officials, coauthored with the Center for State and Local Government Excellence.  We hope that many state and local policymakers will get the chance to review the guide, prior to making changes to their states pension plans, in particular.

The guide provides key facts about public pensions. It also discusses the important role policymakers play in making sure their state and local pension plans are well designed and adequately funded. This helps ensures they can meet the goals of all stakeholders, including:

  • attracting and retaining employees
  • workforce management
  • retirement security
  • keeping pension costs manageable


The guide also reviews:

  • Options for public pension plan design
  • The importance of adequate financing
  • How to develop a sound pension funding policy
  • Important considerations when making changes to a pension plan
  • The effects of various proposals on the workforce and employees, and resulting financial impacts

Fighting for You
AARP is working to make sure that state and local policymakers have the information they need. This helps support strong public pensions which:

  • Enables our firefighters, nurses, teachers and other public employees to have financial independence in retirement
  • Promotes financial security which keeps people from requiring costly public services to meet their basic needs as they age


This is why AARP’s state offices from Oregon to Colorado to South Carolina to Rhode Island continue to advocate for a defined benefit pension as an important means for ensuring financial security in retirement.

This guide is the third in a series of public pension resources recently supported by AARP. The other reports, which examine how state governments have pre-funded their pensions and review significant changes made to public pensions in recent years, can be found here.


Elaine Ryan is the vice president of state advocacy and strategy integration (SASI) for AARP. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff members who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with governors and state legislators, helping people 50-plus attain and maintain their health and financial security.

 



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