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House Republicans unveil CARE Act

Monday, December 21, 2015

Proposals aim to improve the quality of life for Minnesota's aging adults

ST. PAUL, MN—Representatives Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne), Peggy Bennett (R-Albert Lea), and Tama Theis (R-Saint Cloud) unveiled the Caring for the Aging, Retiring, and Elderly (CARE) Act Monday, a package of proposals aimed at improving the quality of life for Minnesota's aging adults. The CARE Act builds on historic, bipartisan reforms made during the 2015 legislative session that boosted funding for nursing homes and will help to grow Minnesota's long-term care workforce.

"House Republicans made seniors a top priority last session, and now is the time to continue building on that success," said Rep. Schomacker, Chair of the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee. "The CARE Act is a package of senior-based proposals that better address the future needs of our elderly and their loved ones."

Sixty thousand Minnesotans will turn 65 in the next year and before the end of the decade, there will be more seniors in Minnesota than K-12 age students. These proposed policy changes aim to improve options in health care, financial security, housing, transportation, nutrition, and careers for Minnesota’s growing population of aging adults.

"It's time for Minnesota to join the more than forty other states who exempt social security from state income taxes," said Rep. Theis, Vice-Chair of the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee. "These proposals allow seniors to keep more of their hard-earned dollars and will help more seniors afford to stay in their homes and close to their families."

In addition to phasing out the income tax on social security, the CARE Act offers individual-empowering approaches to saving for the future like providing flexibility with life insurance policies.

“Between demographic shifts and rising health care costs, planning for our own long-term care needs has never been more important," said Rep. Bennett. "Minnesotans deserve the opportunity to plan for long-term care early, as well as have more flexible options as they age, and the CARE Act provides solutions to meet the needs of our state and its aging population."

The CARE Act also establishes partnerships with high schools and adult basic education programs to produce more Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification classes to grow the workforce, and a study of the role technology plays in improving seniors’ quality of life, safety and independence. Legislation pertaining to the CARE Act is set for introduction in early 2016.

When House Republicans were elected to the majority in 2014, Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) created the new Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee for the 2015-16 biennium to address emerging senior care funding and long-term care regulation issues.