COLUMBUS − AARP Ohio will visit major cities throughout the state to listen to 50+ voters firsthand to understand the unique needs of this community. The Deciding Voices Listening Tour will include facilitated discussions of groups of 50+ Ohioan voters on key issues. AARP advocates will compile the information to inform state candidates and policy leaders as they prepare their campaigns for November. The Deciding Voices events will take place at:
Lima: Wednesday, June 22
Cincinnati: Tuesday, June 28
Cleveland: Wednesday, July 13
Portsmouth: Thursday, July 21
Columbus: Tuesday, July 26
Space is limited to 50 attendees per event, and AARP encourages registration as early as possible via the following link www.aarp.org/OHvotes. Lunch will be provided.
Ohio voters aged 50 and older consistently represent the largest, most consistent voting bloc. The Ohio special primary election is on Aug. 2, 2022, and the midterm general election is on Nov. 8, 2022. There are many critical issues facing the 50+ community, including the rising cost of gas, medication, and healthcare. Social Security and retirement savings are also in jeopardy.
“The 50+ community makes up over 60% of Ohio voters – they hold the power in this election. Their voices matter. We know these voters are savvy and informed. They take the time to find out where candidates stand on their concerns,” says AARP Ohio State Director Holly Holtzen. “It is critically important to older Ohioans that the candidates represent their issues and concerns.”
Key Issues for the 50+ Voters:
AARP is calling on candidates to propose solutions to address the challenges facing voters 50+ such as higher inflation, prices rising higher than wages, and retirement savings in crisis.
Prescription drug prices are soaring, and incomes are not catching up. Many people – especially seniors on fixed incomes – have been forced to ration their life-saving medication to avoid going into debt or stopping the medication completely. This is not an acceptable way for seniors to manage their health, which is why many people in the 50+ community have stated that lowering prescription drug prices is a key issue in the upcoming election. In addition to a few state policy solutions, AARP’s Fair Rx Prices Now campaign has called upon Congress to pass legislation capping out of pocket costs, and penalizing drug manufacturers for raising prices higher than the rate of inflation. More than 180,000 Ohioans have signed petitions calling for lower Rx prices since the campaign began.
Medicare enrollment is expected to grow from 64 million to 80 million Americans by 2030. However, Medicare’s hospital insurance fund is projected to deplete within the next four years, leading to rising costs in healthcare and less funding for medical advancements. In addition to underfunding, Medicare also has gaps in hearing, vision, and dental coverage that result in more out of pocket costs for people dependent on Medicare. Some legislation has been passed to remedy the coverage gaps, however, there is no current plan on how to solve Medicare’s depleting funds.
Access to Healthcare
Voters 50+ in Ohio’s rural communities face significant health and economic challenges due to lack of infrastructure, higher health care costs, limited access to broadband internet and other issues. AARP is urging Ohio’s candidates to address the complex issues facing voters 50+ in Ohio’s rural communities, so they can get the health care they need and stay connected to work and family.
One in five Americans rely on Social Security in their retirement. Unless Congress acts soon, the Social Security trust fund will be depleted in a little over a decade, meaning those who paid into Social Security their entire careers will have nothing in return. Unfortunately, legislators have little agreement on how to remedy this issue.
Caregiving/Long Term Care
Nearly three-quarters of Ohioans 50+ want to stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible. After a lifetime of contributing to society, they deserve to live with independence, dignity, and security. But, today, they confront a long-term care system that lacks good choices and favors nursing homes over home care, costing taxpayers more.
Medicare does not cover in-home or community-based care to the same extent that it covers nursing home care, leaving a large financial responsibility on family caregivers. While caring for a family member can be incredibility fulfilling and rewarding, the average caregiver spends $7,000 out of pocket on home care. The bipartisan Credit for Caring Act, which would provide tax credits for family caregivers, is supported by AARP.