We have an obligation to our senior citizens to ensure they have a secure retirement and are able to live independent and healthy lives.
Because of our economic crisis, state revenue shortfalls led the legislature to suspend the Senior Homestead property tax exemption, which helped seniors afford to stay in their homes. I will fight to restore this lifeline for our seniors. I have worked on issues important to seniors as a board member for the Association for Senior Citizens, and I will be your voice in the legislature in the budget battles ahead.
The state was also forced to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates, affecting aid for elderly Coloradans along with Home Health, Private Duty Nursing and Home and Community Based Services. These programs provide vital services and alternative methods of care to our community, and they must be protected if we hope to guarantee our seniors the quality of life they deserve.
We have made progress in some areas in the last few years. We have increased funding to programs such as Meals on Wheels, shopping shuttles, and in-home care. We passed the Health Care Affordability Act to capture federal matching funds for our hospitals. We have provided more rapid enrollment for people eligible for Medicaid long-term care.
However, the current budget crisis promises more hardship for our seniors in the next two years. If we fail to guarantee health care and other services that help seniors absorb higher costs of living, these gains will be erased.
As our representative to the State House, I will push to restore and expand funding to needed programs and work to reform our tangled budget process to allow Colorado a speedier recovery.