AARP Idaho 2024 Legislative Priorities

Posted on 04/02/24

On behalf of our more than 186,000 members in the state, AARP Idaho works to protect the health and safety of all older Idahoans and supports legislation during the 2024 Idaho legislative session on issues that matter to those 50 and older.

Idaho Statehouse

Quick facts about the aging population in Idaho

Population
65+ population increased 56% in last 10 years1
20% of the population will be over the age of 65 by 20262
7.9% of 65+ population living below poverty1

Caregiving
210,000 family caregivers provide care to their loved ones valued at $3.0 billion3

Housing
Between 2019 and 2027, 26,267 Idaho residents are estimated to be evicted from their homes. 36.2% will be aged 55 and older.5

Retirement Savings
375,000 (of 630,000) full and part-time Idaho workers did not have access to a workplace retirement plan in 20192
78% of Idaho workers in businesses with less than 50 workers do not have access to a workplace retirement savings plan2
24.1% of Idahoans on Social Security rely on it for 90% or more of their income

Health
367,702 Idaho Medicare enrollees4 or 19% of state’s population
16.8% increase in prescription drug prices from 2015 to 2019

Health Care Access, Affordability, and Services

Family Caregivers
Idaho’s unpaid family caregivers are the backbone our care system helping their loved ones stay in their own homes while they age.

Our Ask:
Support the unpaid family caregiver in education and awareness as well as enhance caregiver respite  options.
Fund the Idaho Commission on Aging budget request to fund the Senior Nutrition Program and support State Aging Programs.

Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS)
Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) along with supportive case management assist older Idahoans in avoiding or delaying institutional care and remaining as independent as possible in their homes and communities. Medicaid is a lifeline for many Idahoans who depend on the program for health care services and assistance with LTSS systems.

Our Ask: 
Improve access to services and supports that serve the unique needs of individuals and their loved ones including navigation systems, adult day services, and empowering individuals to live independently.
Support investments in Medicaid home and community-based services including the recruitment, retention, and training of the direct care workforce. Maintain existing access through Medicaid expansion.
Reject any changes to State Nursing Facility rules that eliminate the minimum staffing hours for Idaho nursing home residents.
Fund the Division of Veterans Services request for veterans home renovation in Lewiston.
Fund the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s request to reinstate the personal care services (PCS) case management service that was eliminated in 2011 due to Medicaid cuts enacted in Idaho.

Lower Prescription Drug Prices
Idahoans, along with all Americans, are paying the highest prescription drug prices in the world, often double what other countries pay for the same medicine. Too many seniors are having to choose between filling a prescription and buying groceries.

Our Ask:
Look for opportunities to rein in the high cost of prescription drugs at the state level.

Telehealth and Broadband
Telehealth options are vital to the future of health care. These advantages can be particularly pronounced for members of underserved or rural communities, older adults with disabilities or physical limitations, and family caregivers—all of whom may experience significant barriers when seeking access to in-person care. Additionally, education and information services have increasingly been reliant on digital connections, leaving behind many older Idahoans and rural residents who lack access.

Our Ask:
Support telehealth updates that allow older adults and their family caregivers to make use of new opportunities to consult with healthcare professionals to better manage their health.
Continue infrastructure improvements, such as affordable, high-quality, reliable, broadband access for telehealth delivery services.
Approve additional funding for broadband updates.
Fund the Idaho Commission for Libraries request to implement the Digital Access for All Idahoans Plan (DAAIP).

Financial Security

Retirement Savings and Financial Security
Over half of the nation’s households are at risk of not having enough money to maintain their standard of living in retirement and being unable to afford necessities such as food, utilities, and healthcare.5 Protect Idaho’s older population against financial crimes and exploitation.

Our Ask:
Support legislation that would address financial crimes against the elderly including but not limited to bills on mandatory reporting, criminal penalties, and efforts to raise awareness, and prevention techniques and resources.
Continue to explore and support sensible retirement savings options for Idaho workers.

Property Taxes
Idahoans want the ability to live in one’s own home while maintaining an independent and comfortable lifestyle regardless of ability level, age or income.

Our Ask:
Continue to support work that helps Idaho’s older community remain in their homes by lowering property taxes.

Age-Friendly Communities

Housing and Transportation
We support state and local efforts to make Idaho communities more age-friendly so every Idahoan can stay in the communities they know, where they grew up, and where they are surrounded by their families and friends.

Our Ask: 
Implement measures supporting transportation and housing options that improve health, support vibrant neighborhoods, and connect people to economic, social and civic opportunities throughout their communities.
Fund needed transportation infrastructure projects for pedestrian and bicycle safety such as crosswalks, sidewalks, and bike lanes.
Invest in affordable housing options.
Approve Department of Transportation request for the Strategic Initiatives Program Fund and Local Highway Distribution Fund.

Resources

1https://acl.gov/sites/default/files/Profile%20of%20OA/2021%20Profile%20of%20OA/2021ProfileOlderAmericans_508.pdf

2 Office of Performance Evaluation, Idaho Legislature, "Preparedness of Idahoans to Retire: Deciding the State's Role", August 2020.

3https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2023/3/valuing-state-estimates.doi.10.26419-2Fppi.00082.009.pdf

4https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2023/3/valuing-state-estimates.doi.10.26419-2Fppi.00082.009.pdf

5Statista/AARP analysis of census data available by United States Census Bureau

61983-2016:https://crr.bc.edu/briefs/national-retirement-risk-index-shows-modest-improvement-in-2016/

This story is provided by AARP Idaho. Visit the AARP Idaho page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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