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GCOA's Senior Issues Newsletter: Week of March 20, 2023

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Senior Issues Weekly Newsletter March 24, 2023

2023 Legislative Session:
Legislative Days 36-38


Monday, March 20th, Legislative Day 36, kicked off the final full week that legislators will convene under the Gold Dome for the 2023 Legislative Session. We are now in the home stretch with only two more legislative days on the calendar. All of the bills that have made it to the final stage of consideration to be passed into law this year continue to be heard on the House and Senate Floors for voting after rigorous debate. This was a big week as far as the FY 2024 budget is concerned. All eyes were on the Senate as their Appropriations Committee released their recommendations for the upcoming year's budget. It appears that our collective advocacy efforts, sealed by GCOA Executive Director, Debra Stokes', final appeal to the Senate paid off! 

Keep reading below for updates on the 2023 CO-AGE priorities.










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Debra Stokes delivering the final CO-AGE ask for the 2023 Legislative Session on March 9th.

HCBS Funding
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The FY 2024 Budget Is Back in the House

For years now, there has been talk about the "Sandwich Generation", in which middle aged people are simultaneously caring for minors under 18 as well as older adult parents. In today's nuanced society, from to grandparents raising grandchildren to older adults supporting both adult children and their older parents, the "Sandwich Generation" is more varied. The need for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) continues to grow as older adult caregivers age in place under a variety of circumstances. Read more about the evolving "Sandwich Generation" HERE.

The FY 2024 budget is one step closer to being set in stone. Historically, the Senate usually takes 16 days to review the House budget but this year, Chairman Blake Tillery shared that they reviewed and modified the budget in a record 11 days before passing it out of committee this Tuesday, March 21st. The Senate Appropriations Committee did not make any changes to the House recommendation of $5,464,800 for Home and Community Based Services in their version of the FY 2024 budget! However, the House does not approve of all of the Senate's changes to the budget. The two chambers must reach consensus before the budget can be sent to the Governor's desk. 

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Finding Ways to Make Assisted Living More Accessible 

A recent article explores seven different ways that assisted living communities can potentially be more affordable and accessible to Americans. The use of Medicaid is one of the ways that is listed, though each state's regulations vary. With the average cost of assisted living at $4,500 a month and the average monthly Social Security benefit at around $1,693.88 per month, the numbers don't add up for many. Read all of the suggestions to make assisted living more affordable HERE.

The current focus on Medicaid in Georgia is the upcoming "unwinding" to redetermine eligibility for all who receive it. It is going to take some time for the improvements to assisted living communities priority to move forward. The CO-AGE advocacy team will continue to  work with the Georgia Department of Community Health and other potential partners to find a way to accomplish the goal.

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Older Adults Are Most At Risk for Poor Oral Health

According to the National Institutes of Health's most recent Oral Health in America report, older adults have the highest risk for poor oral health of any other age group. Contributing factors include a lack of convenient access to care (especially for those who are homebound, live in long term care or underserved urban and rural areas), limited financial resources, and a lack of dental insurance. These factors result in a higher prevalence of oral disease in this age group. The use of Teledentistry can help mitigate this oral disease burden. Read the NIH factsheet on older adults HERE.

While legislators found Teledentistry to be an important topic this year, House Bill 441 did not make it to the floor of either chamber for a vote. However, the bill is still alive as dialogue between the dental community, bill sponsors and CO-AGE is still happening. There is a good chance that it will be reconsidered next year.

Work and Save
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11 States Have State-Facilitated Retirement Savings Programs

Wednesday, February 22nd, Legislative Day, was AARP's Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Dozens of AARP volunteer advocates from across the state gathered to meet legislators at the ropes to promote the Work and Save program, asking them to consider the creation of public-private retirement savings partnership. These advocates raised their voices on behalf of over 2 million working Georgians who do not have a way to save for retirement through their job. Read more about AARP's Advocacy Day HERE.

Now that Senator Chuck Hufstetler has agreed to sponsor the bill in the Senate, the Work and Save priority will continue to move forward to be assigned a bill number and then assigned to a committee. Advocacy partners are looking for potential bill sponsors in the House. 

Insufficient Retirement Funds Don't Just Affect Individuals

Pew Charitable Trusts is trusted a resource on state automated savings programs. Beyond individual repercussions, Pew researchers point out that insufficient retirement funds can potentially "increase pressure on public assistance programs, reduce tax revenue, and decrease household spending by retirees" as the number of working-age taxpayers decreases. The more economically secure workers are, the less reliant they are on taxpayer funded government programs, the better able they are to withstand unplanned financial situations and the more likely they are to save for their future. Learn more about Pew's research on state automated savings programs like Work and Save HERE.


The proposed language for the Work and Save bill was determined to be more complex than the potential bill sponsor felt was necessary.  While the concept has been well received by the legislature, our advocacy team was encouraged to seek advice on vetted language from the Georgia Employee’s Retirement System. This extended research will begin shortly after the 2023 Session ends.

2024 Call for Issues

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CO-AGE Membership


The Georgia Council on Aging's Coalition of Advocates for Georgia's Elderly (CO-AGE) is meant to be:

  • a forum to identify and address concerns of older Georgians

  • a vehicle for bringing broad-based input on aging issues from across the state

  • a diverse group of organizations, individuals, consumers and providers interested in "aging specific" and inter-generational issues

  • a unifying force communicating the importance of providing supportive communities and adequate services & programs for older Georgians

Anyone interested in advocating with or on behalf of older adults can join

CO-AGE. Individual Membership is only $10! Paid members have the distinctive

ability to submit and vote on the issues that GCOA and CO-AGE take to the Capitol!

Sign up HERE or Scan this QR Code: 

If you are already a member, please make sure that your account is up to date. In order to accurately and effectively link our CO-AGE members to their legislators, it's important that we have the most updated home addresses in our database. If you had a change of address recently, please contact Patrice Parker at and she will update your address in our system. All home addresses will remain confidential!


© 2023 Georgia Council on Aging

47 Trinity Ave. SW, 1st Floor, Atlanta, GA 30334

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