DES MOINES, Jan. 20, 2010 - Advocating for more affordable, accessible and quality health and long-term care, and financial security for older Iowans are AARP's key areas of focus for Iowa's 83rd General Assembly, which convened Monday, Jan. 11. Specific legislation AARP state staff and volunteers will be focusing on includes:

*       Protecting critical Medicaid funding
*       Protecting funding for identified unmet home and community needs of older Iowans
*       Protecting the quality of long-term care in Iowa's nursing homes and other institutional settings
*       Working to implement cost-effective ways to improve Iowa's health care system, such as improving Iowa's chronic care delivery through steps like creating a statewide diabetic registry and regionalizing IowaCare - Iowa's system for providing care for low income and under-insured Iowans
*       Addressing Iowa's impending nurse shortage
*       Providing sensible consumer protections from extreme predatory lending practices

"In this tough economic climate, AARP will be working diligently to protect our most vulnerable citizens and ensure that Iowa's human needs are met at this critical time," said Bruce Koeppl, AARP Iowa State Director.  "With increasing demand on state Medicaid services due to the economic downturn, it is imperative leaders protect critical Medicaid funding," said Koeppl. 

For every dollar Iowa cuts in Medicaid, the state loses $1.68 in federal matching funds.  Medicaid not only provides a safety net to the increasing number of people suffering the hardships of job loss, disability and lack of access to insurance, it also provides essential economic benefits to local communities.  Medicaid cuts cause a ripple effect with lost jobs, and lost revenue to providers and other businesses, as well as tax revenue for state and local governments.

AARP sets its annual state legislative priorities consistent with national policies approved by the association's Board of Directors.  Priorities are based on the needs of Iowa residents as expressed in survey of members across the state, and information gathered at AARP-sponsored forums and events throughout the year. 

To get involved with AARP in contacting your legislators or learning more about AARP's efforts during the legislative session, call the AARP Iowa State Office toll-free at 1-866-554-5378 or visit

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