“This is not the time for business as usual,” AARP CEO Bill Novelli said at a press briefing. “It is time to demonstrate bold leadership, to take our agenda to the people and our nation’s leaders, to demand change and to work hard to bring about that change.”
And with that, the AARP, representing more than 40 million Americans over the age of fifty, put the incoming Obama administration and the next Congress on notice that they would be playing a very active role in any discussions about healthcare reform and economic recovery efforts. They correctly identified the fact that long term care is always one of the first areas to be ignored or gouged when it comes to government budgets. They also called for $50 billion in aid to Medicaid programs—just at a time when state and federal budgets had made it clear that Medicaid budgets would be in jeopardy due to the economy.
This is important good news for seniors and families that are being hit hard right now by the effects of the economic crunch. Economic indicators continue to get worse as reports issued by the Federal Reserve, the auto industry, the housing industry and the Labor Department show continued declines at unprecedented levels. Seniors will need help securing and paying for appropriate levels of housing and long term care. Help from the government and private sector innovations to provide funding solutions for senior living are going to become critical—especially over the next two and three years.