Elderly Struggling with Hunger, Older Drivers Come Out on Top, While Gov't Encroachment Comes Between Idahoans & Their Legal End-of-Life Care
BOISE, Idaho, April 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the 2011 Idaho State Legislative session finally drawn to a close, some good news and bad news is in store for people across the state. Today, AARP Idaho unveiled its list of the "2011 Legislative Session Winners and Losers," highlighting bills that will either help or hurt Idahoans.
Elderly Drivers: Safer roads as family and facts placed at the heart of elderly driving issues. In Idaho, when a physician has concerns about someone's ability to drive, they can recommend to the Idaho Transportation Dept. the patients license be revoked. House Bill 160 now ensures that elderly drivers and their families get the facts and have a conversation with the doctor prior to the recommendation being made, leading to a discussion about options, such as changing prescriptions, and when a recommendation for revocation is made, the patient receives a copy. Doctors who make the recommendation are now shielded from liability, which served as a deterrent to reporting in the past.
Idaho Families & Elderly Struggling with Hunger: Senior hunger is increasing in Idaho, with many of the state's elderly forced to choose between filling a prescription or a grocery cart. Now, fewer Idaho families and elderly will be forced to make such harsh and unhealthy choices, thanks to an increase in the asset limit for food stamps from $2,000 for Idahoans and $3,000 for the elderly to $5,000 for everyone.
Idahoans Legal Rights: Government encroachment on the deathbed? Thanks to House Bill 187, Idaho's conscience law, as it relates to legal end-of-life care and treatment, has actually been made worse. The bill, which was touted as a "narrow fix" to the law, leaves patients and their families unsure of where to get end-of-life care as expressed in their living will or advance directives – legal documents, forcing Idahoans to go doctor shopping in order to have their legal rights honored. The bill does little more than complicate end-of-life care, while still allowing all health care professionals to put their "conscience" before patients legally expressed dying care. The bill was sponsored by Senators Chuck Winder & Bart Davis and Representatives Julie Ellsworth and Tom Loertscher. AARP is urging Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to veto the bill.
Budget solutions: Early in the legislative session, an AARP survey of Idaho's 50+ (the most powerful vote in the state) found overwhelming support for solutions to the state's budget shortfall, including closing business tax loopholes, hiking the cigarette tax, and increasing taxes on beer wine and liquor, all in order to avoid cuts to state programs and services. All of those revenue options were ignored in favor of a status quo budget that takes an ax to the very areas, including Medicaid, an increasing number of Idahoans needed to be preserved.
Idahoans struggling with health insurance costs: Hit twice to make it even harder to have access to affordable health insurance 1) Saying "NO" to fed. dollars even in rough state budget times. Legislators turned down federal dollars to set up a health insurance exchange, making it easier for Idaho families and small businesses to find health insurance they can afford, and providing them the same breaks large companies have when it comes to costs - opting instead to set up an exchange using money from the state coffers. 2) Nullification take 2. After the first attempts to stop implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) were declared unconstitutional and failed to advance, a second approach, taking aim at key components passed both Houses. Signing it into law will only ensure that Idahoans struggling to afford soaring health insurance premiums will continue to do so, making it more difficult on families and small businesses to pay for health care.
AARP is Idaho's largest membership organization with 180,000 members.
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SOURCE AARP Idaho