Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pleasantly Surprised With Asa's Ideas for Elderly

When I first heard that Republican Gubinatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson had put forth some proposals for the elderly, I was concerned that I would have to issue a "gross pander alert". Senior citizens vote. That was likely why President Bush mortgaged away the country's future with his "Pills for Granny" prescription drug program that adds one trillion dollars in unfunded future liabilities to a program that is already in fiscal distress.

As you can tell, I am calling it like I see it, not for or against the Republicans. Asa has put forth some actual proposals about what he would like to do as Governor. I like most of them, and vehemently disagree with others, but at least he is sharing concrete proposals with anyone who is listening. I would, on the otherhand, describe the Mike Bebee campaign as "content free". That ought to send up alert signals of another kind. Why won't the man talk about what he would do as governor?

At any rate, Asa's proposals are below. They are mostly based around the idea of getting more input, flexibility, and home-based care into the system, all of which I agree with. The last one is to throw more money to senior centers. That is the only one that smacks of pandering, and I could be wrong about that. At any rate it is the only one that focuses on the government institution instead of helping seniors live with their own family in their own homes as long as possible, which is the most humane and Godly thing by my way of thinking.

Click "Tuesday" below and scroll down to read Mr. Hutchinson's proposals.


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Hutchinson outlined several steps he would take as Governor to represent the needs of Arkansas seniors:

1) Appoint A Governor’s Advisor On Seniors’ Issues: Hutchinson said that he would appoint an advisor dedicated to seniors’ policy issues in the Governor’s office, to handle all policy issues concerning seniors, serve as a liaison to seniors’ advocacy groups, handle constituent requests, and serve as a liaison to the Arkansas Healthy Aging Coalition, and the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Aging.

2) Host A Governor’s Summit On Aging Issues: Hutchinson pledged to hold a Governor’s Summit On Aging Issues bringing together leaders from the seniors’ community, elected officials, health care experts, and representatives from the private and non-profit sectors to anticipate new challenges we will face as more boomers retire and our seniors population expands, as well as to develop policy recommendations to meet those challenges. The summit would make use of findings from the “Arkansas 2020” report, a demographic study prepared by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in conjunction with state agencies to collect and analyze projections on the state’s changing population. The report is expected to be completed by December 2006, according to UAMS.

3) Allow Seniors More Options and Flexibility To Receive Home- and Community-Based Care: Hutchinson pledged to continue finding cost-effective alternatives to allow seniors the freedom and independence of “aging in place” by receiving home- and community-based care by:

· Expanding Services Under the ElderChoices Program: ElderChoices is Arkansas' Medicaid home and community-based waiver program designed to allow elderly persons to reside in their own homes or live with relatives or caregivers for as long as possible, if they choose. The program offers assistance with a range of services, including adult day care, housekeeping, meal delivery, etc. By expanding the scope and duration of services offered under the program, the state would save Medicaid money that is spent when seniors who require additional assistance are forced to move into nursing homes, which are a more expensive route for elder care.

· Providing Additional Investment In Area Agencies On Aging: Arkansas’ eight Area Agencies on Aging play a critical role in providing services and assistance to the state’s seniors, but the agencies face increased challenges with the growth in the senior population, increased fuel and transportation costs, and increased wages for workers. Hutchinson proposed to dedicate additional state investment to the Area Agencies on Aging to ensure that they can continue providing a high level of services to their clients.

8:47 AM, June 06, 2006  

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