With the 126th legislative session just underway, this week AARP Maine released their 2014 legislative agenda. Throughout the session, AARP Maine will track bills that impact Mainers 50+ such as affordable health care, consumer issues, prescription drug costs, and state budget decisions. AARP Maine will publish a full legislative voting summary at the end of the session which will be shared with our more than 230,000 members statewide.
AARP is expecting strong legislative leadership from both sides of the aisle in 2014 as the state addresses critical issues that affect 50+ Mainers and their families. We feel it is critical that our legislature work together in the spirit of bi-partisanship to achieve meaningful policy for all Maine residents.
AARP Maine staff and volunteers will focus their public policy work this year on health and financial security for older Mainers. AARP strongly supports accepting federal dollars to expand affordable health care through Medicaid in Maine and is urging lawmakers to support the measure in 2014.
As our Volunteer State President, Rich Livingston said, “Because Maine declined federal funds during the 2013 legislative session, tens of thousands of Mainers, many of whom are 50-64, have fallen into a ‘coverage gap. They have no access to health coverage under Medicaid and they do not qualify for subsidized coverage under the new health insurance exchanges. It is imperative that our elected leaders expand health care coverage for all hardworking Mainers in 2014.”
In addition to affordable health care, AARP Maine will advocate for improving the balance of funding for home and community-based services. AARP surveys continue to indicate that over 90 percent of Maine residents 50 and older want to stay in their own homes and local communities as long as possible. AARP will advocate for programs and initiatives that support family caregivers who are balancing work and family responsibilities.
AARP is also committed to ensuring that reforms made to state tax structures safeguard the financial security of the 50+ population. As Maine addresses both the revenue and spending sides of the budget, we feel that a balanced approach is essential. In addition to raising sufficient revenue, AARP believes that state and local tax systems should follow the general guiding principles of equity, neutrality, administrative efficiency, and consistency with broader social goals.
Many Maine people are struggling to make ends meet and for retirees on fixed incomes, rising utility costs can become unmanageable. AARP will engage in legislative efforts that protect Mainers 50+ from unfair cost increases and will work to ensure that protections are in place to help facilitate financial security in retirement. Affordable utilities are not only a pocketbook issue for seniors on fixed incomes, but often a health and safety issue as well.
2014 is going to be busy, but you can rest assured that AARP Maine looks forward to working with Governor LePage and state lawmakers to ensure that Maine continues to be a place where people 50+ want to live, work and retire. For more information or to get involved, contact AARP Maine at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-554-5380.