August 20, 2021
Texas Alliance Sues Over New Extreme Voting Restrictions
The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, Voto Latino, LULAC Texas, and the Texas American Federation of Teachers filed suit Tuesday to block SB 1, Texas’s draconian voting law that is one of the most restrictive of its kind. The groups, which collectively represent millions of Texans, filed the lawsuit without delay on Tuesday as soon as Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed the measure.
The suit contends that the proposed new law’s core provisions will deeply degrade the democratic cornerstones of representation and fairness, particularly for people of color and older Texans.
The law limits early voting hours, cuts local options for casting ballots, restricts mail-in voting, and allows partisan poll watchers unprecedented access to polling places. Each of these provisions is designed to prevent Texas voters — particularly voters of color — from casting a ballot
The new bill’s restrictions would tighten what are already some of the nation’s most restrictive voting rules, with elected officials and voting rights experts noting that the bill’s provisions could specifically target people of color.
“Older people take the right to vote seriously, and this law will make it much more difficult for Texas seniors to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” said Gene Lantz, President of the Texas Alliance. “Seniors rely on early voting and mail ballots to vote without standing in long lines on Election Day. Many older Texans also have physical limitations and may decide not to vote out of fear of intimidation or harassment at the polls. This law is an affront to democracy, and we are suing to make sure everyone’s voices are heard at the ballot box.”
“Our members are united in the belief that we should be making it easier for voters to cast a ballot, not harder,” added Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “This law is the result of a deliberate effort to keep millions of Americans from having their voices heard at the ballot box.”
Administration Advances Plans for Lower Drug Prices as Congress Works on Ways to Expand Medicare with the Savings
The Biden administration unveiled a detailed blueprint for lowering prescription drug prices Thursday that includes allowing Medicare to directly negotiate lower drug prices and making those prices available to other insurance plans. The White House plan also calls for capping out-of-pocket spending under Medicare Part D, permitting drug importation from Canada and limiting the ability of drug corporations to hike prices on existing drugs.
“We are pleased to see that the administration’s plan addresses skyrocketing drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices. The Alliance has made that a top priority since our launch in 2001,” said Executive Director Fiesta.
ACTION NEEDED: Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Being Debated in Congress Now
Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, and they just keep going up.
Congress has the power to do something about this crisis: they can pass legislation allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.
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New Poll Explores Seniors’ Biggest Concerns
New research by seniorliving.org found that older adults have been more emotionally resilient than their younger counterparts during the pandemic, and that many of seniors’ biggest fears are related to finances.
Older adults’ biggest fear is their loved ones becoming seriously ill. When it comes to finances, nearly 1 in 2 older adults fear not having enough money saved for retirement, and that worry is expressed even more strongly by those between the ages of 55 and 64.
In addition, 1 in 4 older adults fears they’ll never pay off their existing debt. And forty-five percent of people between 55 and 64 fear having high medical bills, while 39 percent of those over 65 have the same worry.
“Social Security and Medicare already address many of seniors’ biggest fears, and they can do more,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “If we increase Social Security benefits to cover more of the expenses that seniors truly face, we can alleviate a lot of anxiety.”
Many Nursing Home Residents Suffer through Hurricane Ida, Pandemic in Horrid Conditions
The Louisiana Department of Health has revoked the licenses of seven nursing homes that sent residents to a warehouse to shelter during Hurricane Ida, renewing concerns over the safety of long term care facilities.
Residents of the Louisiana nursing homes were laying on the floor, without access to bathroom facilities, on flat blowup mattresses. Nurses described unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the warehouse worsening as the air conditioner stopped working. Additionally, the 800-plus elderly residents were all in close contact, despite concerns about COVID. Seven of the residents who sheltered at the warehouse died.
At other nursing homes across the country, with the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus spreading and some nursing home employees expressing reluctance or refusing to get vaccinated, many facilities are again seeing a rise in infections. Each time a new case occurs among staffers or residents, federal guidance means nursing homes must immediately suspend visits. The Biden Administration recently announced that any long term care facility that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding must require its employees to be vaccinated.
“Nobody should ever have to live in the conditions that seniors experienced at that Louisiana warehouse,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “The federal and state government must protect Americans who need long term care, and provide more people with the option of receiving care at home.”