OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington has become known as a state that gives its
older residents options that allow them to live at home as long as
possible. But lately, no one is immune to state budget cuts, and today,
AARP Washington says low-income seniors are getting less help
paying for prescriptions, fewer hours of in-home care services, and
fewer Medicaid benefits.
Additional cuts to these programs have been proposed, and Ingrid McDonald, advocacy director for AARP Washington, says it adds a sense of urgency to this year's Senior Lobby Day in Olympia.
"The message of the day is, take a balanced approach to this problem,
and in this tough economy, find a way to solve the budget shortfall
without cutting deeply into programs that seniors rely on. The only way
they can do that is to look to ways to generate new revenues."
Gerry Reilly, chair of the Eldercare Alliance, says the
mood in the legislature has been tense, but he believes seniors will
find at least some lawmakers who are tired of cutting and want to find
ways to raise money instead.
"Last year was a pretty desperate situation; there was a total
unwillingness to talk about revenues. Now, there's some sense of hope
and optimism that we will probably come out of here with a budget that
has some additional cuts, but will have substantial revenues - unlike
In the morning, seniors will hear from representatives of the
governor's office and Department Social and Health Services and others.
The afternoon will be spent in meetings with legislators.