Bill Nelson Visits Tallahassee to Talk Elder Issues [SLIDE SHOW]

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Update By: Lanetra Bennett
February 19, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - U.S. Senator Bill Nelson begins his chairmanship of the Senate's Special Committee on Aging with a promise to fight for economic security for older Americans.

The congressman is now on a fact-finding tour to help with that promise.

Senator Nelson stopped at FSU's Claude Pepper Center in Tallahassee Tuesday morning.

He's using the panel discussions to hear from scientists, doctors and policy-makers on a wide array of issues affecting the elderly.

Nelson told today's group that he doesn't see an answer for longtime care insurance because of the gridlock in Congress threatening across-the-board budget cuts.

He says, "You can cut spending but you ought to cut it intelligently; not this meat cleaver, guillotine approach that just whacks off wily nily. Sequestering was never intended to go into effect; and here we are at the point that it may actually go into effect at the end of this month."

Nelson said the State of Florida should do its part by accepting the federal money for Medicaid expansion.

He said that would give health care to one million Floridians.

United States Senate Special Committee on Aging Release

GAINESVILLE, FL -- U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson begins his chairmanship of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging not only with a promise to fight for economic security for elderly Americans, but with a fact-finding tour to hear from some of his state’s best scientists, doctors and policy-makers on a wide-array of issues affecting the elderly.

The lawmaker’s tour will include stops next week at the University of Florida Institute on Aging in Gainesville, and the Claude Pepper Center in the state’s capital city, which is named for the late Sen. Claude D. Pepper. Pepper established the center before his death in 1989 to develop public-policy initiatives and conduct research aimed at benefitting the elderly.

Nelson (D-FL) was named chairman of the Aging Committee late last month. The committee will hold its first meeting the last week of this month.

“I’m going to do everything I can to improve the quality of life and retirement security of our country’s elderly,” said Nelson, who is the third Floridian to lead the Aging Committee since its formation in 1961, joining the late Sens. George Smathers and Lawton Chiles.

“We’re also going to be looking for ways to reduce fraud and abuse against seniors,” Nelson said.

The Florida Democrat is scheduled to begin the week in Gainesville, where he’ll pay a visit Monday to the University of Florida’s Aging and Rehabilitation Research Center. There, he’ll participate in a roundtable examination of elder issues with the director of the University’s Institute on Aging, Dr. Marco Pahor, M.D., and other faculty members. Researchers at the institute recently were awarded a $5.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop therapies aimed at preventing and rehabilitating age-related disabilities.

On Tuesday, Nelson plans to meet with aging experts in Tallahassee at Florida State University’s Pepper Center. He and a panel of experts plan to delve into ways to:

- Make long-term care insurance more affordable;

- Hold assisted living centers more accountable;

- Control Medicare costs without cutting benefits; and,

- Help seniors avoid running out of money in retirement.

Monday, February 18

Univ. of Florida Institute of Aging roundtable
2:00 p.m.
Press access permitted; local contact is Celeste Brown at 407-506-6057

Aging and Rehabilitation Research Center Conference Room
University of Florida
2199 Mowry Road, Gainesville

Tuesday, February 19

Claude Pepper Center panel discussion
9:45 a.m.
Press access permitted; local contact is Lynn Bannister at 850-528-2188

The Claude Pepper Center, the Claude Pepper Library and Museum
Florida State University
636 West Call Street, Tallahassee

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