AARP Comment on Upcoming State of the State Address

Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will deliver his 2014 “State of the State” address. Just like the more well-known “State of the Union” address that President Obama will deliver later this month,the purpose of the event is for the Governor to lay out his vision for the upcoming year. It is intended to be a starting point in policymaking, usually outlining the issues that the Governor will attempt to advance within the state legislature in the upcoming session.

Earlier this week, the New York State AARP Director, Beth Finkel released a statement sharing information about what the advocacy organization hoped to hear included within the address. In particular, the statement discusses the policy issues that are likely to affect older New Yorkers. Considering the critical role that state policy has on so many elder law issues, from New York Medicaid to nursing home quality, the issues to be addressed her should be on the radar of most New York families.

Relevant New York Policy Issues
In her statement, Finkel noted the immense challenges facing elder caregivers in the state. She quipped that individuals over fifty years old “are struggling to care for aging loved ones as New York moves from a caregiving crisis toward a caregiving disaster.”

One clear need, the AARP suggests, is to shift the focus of long-term care toward more flexible options, like home- and community- based services. This move will both save Medicaid funds but also “allow New Yorkers to age in the setting of their choice, with independence and dignity.” The statement claims that a relatively modest $26 million investment into certain programs can accomplish this goal, keeping thousands of seniors who do not need around-the-clock medical care out of a nursing home.

There appears to be broad agreement with this idea. The AARP statement points to their own survey of New York residents which found that 90% supported increased funding to help seniors age in place as an alternative to the nursing home. As a practical matter, any change would likely be filtered through the Medicaid system on which most families rely for long-term care.

Be sure to tune in to local networks this evening to watch the State of the State speech live, and keep an ear out for his comments on these and other issues that may affect New York seniors.

Regardless of what is said tonight, if you would like more information on planning ahead for long-term care, contact our elder law attorneys today to see how we can help.

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