10 top legislative priorities for senior citizens
Ted Hubert

Texas legislators began work on Jan. 8 Now is the time to get acquainted with Senator Dr. Charles Schwertner and Representative Dr. Marsha Farney as Milam County is in their districts.

Here are the 10 top legislative priorities as recommended by the 2012 Texas Silver Haired Legislature:

No. 1—Increase the personal needs allowance for Medicaid residents in nursing homes. This is asking for no less than $75 per month.

No. 2—Eliminate the 30-day wait ing period to star t the approval process for Medicaid. Residents entering nursing homes may need Medicaid prior to this deadline.

No. 3—Cap annual property valuation increases on homesteads at 5 percent unless voter approved. This asks the legislature to require a vote before an increase of more than 5 percent is levied.

No. 4—Assure adequate funding for home- delivery meals. This asks for adequate funding be set to take meals to senior citizens.

No. 5—Expand long–term care ombudsman services in assisted living facilities.

This urges the legislature to allocate $2.9 million to expand such services with the addition of an ALF ombudsman for the 28 area agencies on aging and one ATE at DADS state office to provide training and staff support to the new positions in order to help residents maintain their rights and respect and to receive optimal individual care.

No. 6—Enact a statutory basic will for Texas. The United States Constitution declares that states alone have the power to pass laws regarding basic wills and the appointments of executors and guardians.

Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin and California have statutes that provide basic wills.

No. 7—Preserve The System Benefit Fund. (Lite Up Texas) This would amend Section39.903 of the Utilities Code to exempt the System Benefit Fund from the budget certification accounting process and to allow the Public Utilities Commissioner of Texas to expend the GR5100 Account for its stated regulatory purpose.

No. 8— Protec t medica l patients from balance billing, also known as “bushwhack billing.” Balance billing is an extra billing charging the patient to pay the difference between the amount the insurance will pay and the amount the healthcare provider charges.

Many times this causes a hardship on nursing home residents, particularly the elderly.

No. 9—Allow specialty license plates for all veterans at no extra charge. The word “ Veteran” should be added to the plate.

No. 10—Require headlight adjustments be included in state inspections without extra charge.

All the above are very important. It is our duty to get involved and push for rights for our senior citizens.

Let’s help them by being their voice.

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2013-01-24 digital edition

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