WASHINGTON, May 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, in the midst of Older Americans Month, AARP Illinois staff and volunteer State President, Merri Dee, visited Capitol Hill to urge their elected representatives to back bills, including the Older Americans Act, that can help Americans live their best lives. Visits to the offices of Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and members of the U.S. House of Representatives including Congressmen Bill Enyart (D-12), Rodney Davis (R-13), Cheri Bustos (D-17), Jan Schakowsky (D-9), Adam Kinzinger (R-16), John Shimkus (R-15), Mike Quigley (D-5), Brad Schneider (D-10), Randy Hultgren (R-14) and Luis Gutierrez (D-4) took place to discuss a variety of issues crucial to older Americans.
"This Congress has an opportunity to pass bipartisan legislation that benefits older Americans from Illinois including the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, the landmark 1965 law that helps provide essential services to millions of our most vulnerable seniors," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director. "During the month that celebrates and recognizes older Americans, we urge Congress to take action on a long list of issues that matter to our AARP Illinois members and their families."
The issues that AARP volunteers and staff raised with members of the House and Senate from every state include:
- The Older Americans Act (S.1562 / H.R.3850): The reauthorization of the bipartisan Older Americans Act provides an array of programs and services to assist, protect, nourish and sustain Illinois' seniors with maximum dignity and independence. In Illinois, $51.9 million in funding for vulnerable seniors in 2014 goes to meal and nutrition services, caregiver support, and preventive health care, among other things. AARP has consistently supported and urged a reauthorization with minor changes to strengthen and improve this crucial law.
- Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR): Also known as the "Doc Fix," Medicare beneficiaries and doctors shouldn't have to deal with the uncertainty of short term solution after short term solution. Doctors and their patients deserve a stable, predictable reimbursement system that will encourage doctors and providers to deliver high-quality care. AARP supports a permanent repeal of SGR and a move toward a reimbursement system that promotes quality and value without shifting costs onto beneficiaries through higher cost-sharing or reduced benefits.
- Responsible Solutions for Medicare's Adequacy and Solvency: AARP believes we can improve Medicare solvency by generating savings throughout the entire healthcare system, such as finding ways to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse; improving care coordination; and lowering prescription costs. This must also be achieved without shifting costs onto beneficiaries through higher cost-sharing or reduced benefits.
- The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) (S.1391 / H.R.2852): The passage of the bipartisan POWADA would protect workers by reestablishing the principle that unlawful discrimination should not play a role in workplace decisions. A recent Supreme Court decision made it more difficult for older workers to prove claims of illegal bias based on age.
- The Safe Streets Act (S.2004 / H.R.2468): The passage of the bipartisan Safe Streets Act would ensure that planners and traffic engineers design, construct, and operate roads with the safety of all users in mind by directing states and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to create a "safe streets" policy within two years of enactment. The policy would be different for each locality based on their individual communities.
As Congress gets closer to a midterm election expected to once again see the influence of older voters, AARP's volunteers hope that their issues resonate clearly before they head to the voting booths in November.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.
SOURCE AARP Illinois