2016 Platform: Seniors
California Democrats continue to recognize the importance and dignity of seniors, the fastest growing age group in the nation, and believe they enrich our everyday experiences, connect us with our past and are a strong driving force in our collective future. We affirm and embrace the continuing contributions of seniors and we continue to be committed to fostering a strong bond between all generations. Seniors deserve the highest standard of care from the health care industry and a prescription drug program that helps them get the medicine they need. We are committed to protecting senior homeownership and hard-earned pensions as well as the support services and assistance that collectively help seniors maintain independence and quality of life. We strongly believe that seniors be offered the opportunity to remain in jobs that they have so successfully performed for many years. A decent standard of living, adequate nutrition, health care, and other social and economic achievements are not just development goals - they are human rights.
Pre-seniors, ages 55 thru 65, have been among those hardest hit by recent economic downturns. Many in the Baby Boom generation have lost the ability to regain financial footing, including experiencing salary reductions, yet they don't qualify for the same benefits as their elders, such as low-income housing and Medicare. Forced retirement for those 55 and older results in the loss of much needed income, resulting in loss of future benefits and brings additional financial burden to the Social Security and Medicare systems.
To honor California seniors, California Democrats will:
- Oppose mandatory retirement;
- Work for additional retraining for the Boomer generation to remain in the workforce; extend unemployment, housing and health care benefits to individuals 55 and older and their immediate family;
- Strengthen Social Security and preserve hard-earned pensions as the bedrocks of a dignified retirement;
- Continue Medicare as a guaranteed right;
- Work toward universal, comprehensive health care; until that is achieved, reform Medicare Part D to make it clear, affordable and easily accessible to people of all incomes levels, specifically addressing the numerous eligibility problems encountered by pharmacists and the confusing number of private drug plans from which millions of retirees have been forced to choose;
- Affirm the right of all seniors to manage their attendant care so they may live with dignity in their own homes and communities;
- Support increased, stable funding, and expansion of service hours for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS);
- Investigate and prosecute crimes against seniors, including white-collar and financial schemes – including stronger oversight of reverse mortgage programs - as well as elder abuse, and strictly enforce all existing penalties for crimes against seniors;
- Fight to preserve and protect programs that serve low-income seniors such as: Adult Protective Services, Senior Community Employment, Multipurpose Senior Service Programs, Alzheimer's Day Care Resource Centers, Home Delivered Meals, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, California Senior Legal Hotline, renter's assistance, homeowner property tax discount assistance programs and property tax postponement;
- Expand public transportation and other transit services to support seniors on limited incomes, with or without health concerns, to travel freely and enjoy a quality lifestyle; and,
- Guarantee decent living conditions for all seniors to ensure that elders live in dignity and are able to afford the necessities of life - housing, food, health care and a respectable standard of living.