Proposed Funding Cuts Put Elderly At Risk

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Editor:

As the budget crisis in the state unfolds, AARP continues to monitor how proposed cuts in funding levels impact seniors. And while the Governor's 2004 budget basically leaves funding for aging programs intact, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee's recommendation to the Arizona House and Senate includes drastic service reductions and elimination of some programs, which serve the elderly. This is unacceptable.

Most pervasive is a proposed 30-percent reduction to non-medical home and community based services (HCBS) for the frail and elderly. The cuts would not only eliminate services to approximately 30 percent of the program participants, but are drastic enough to threaten the continuance of services in rural and urban areas served by small providers.

The cuts are not only objectionable, they are morally wrong.

Frail, vulnerable elderly served by the non-medical HCBS program cannot afford to wait for services. They may die or be prematurely institutionalized at a much greater cost to the state.

The proposed cuts do not make sense, either from a fiscal standpoint or a human services viewpoint. AARP strongly opposes such drastic reductions to already overextended services.

Lupe Solis, AARP Associate State Director Advocacy

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