CARA’s Accomplishments of 2021
CARA has become the leading progressive grassroots movement for seniors in California, representing over 1 million seniors through our 300+ affiliated organizations. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, CARA has been able to stay connected and engaged with our members, the legislature, and the public.
CARA’s 2021 Accomplishments Include:
- Recruited 100+ volunteers to write a total of 10,000 postcards urging seniors to vote against the Recall of Governor Newsom.
- Sponsored a “Senior and the Recall” Forum to explain the recall ballot, how to mark your ballot, what your vote means, and what is at stake in the recall election.
- Held twice monthly Fabulous Friday Forums on key CARA issues and campaigns, including a one-person play performed by Josh Kornbluth – with thousands participating.
- Successfully advocated for SSI recipients to receive stimulus checks, increased the SSP portion of the grant for the first time in 12 years, and won California’s Golden State Stimulus payment ($600) for SSI recipients.
- Sponsored a statewide virtual town hall meeting on July 30th to celebrate the anniversaries of Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, USPS, and the proposal to provide $400 billion for Home and Community Based Services. Followed up this celebration with Congressional visits (virtually) with most of the 53 members of the CA Congressional Delegation.
- Joined with the Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) for All Coalition to promote universal LTSS at the State Level (the Dept. of Insurance LTSS Task Force) and turned out dozens of CARA members for two rallies in LA and Oakland to support the $400 billion in HCBS funding. –
- Collected over 400 personal stories about why Home Care is Essential and included them in a book presented to Speaker Pelosi on August 27th and sent to all 53 members of the CA Congressional Delegation.
- CARA’s Legislative Committee wrote letters on over 100 bills and identified 6 bills/issues as priorities. Two of these bills passed the Legislature and are awaiting the governor’s signature. The other 4 bills became two-year bills and will be heard at the beginning of 2022.
- Sponsored our second virtual in-district lobby day with 100 of the 120 state legislators – all on May 21st. Over 200 CARA volunteers attended one of these virtual meetings.
- Continued to hold our 17 monthly CARA Action Team meetings virtually – using Zoom and Teleconferences to keep our folks involved and engaged. Our CAT callers continue to connect with all our members through phone trees to be sure that everyone is doing ok and to see if they need anything during this pandemic. Helped over 100 seniors register for vaccines online (many do not have access to technology and needed assistance).
- Through our work with the Master Plan on Aging and other senior and disability networks, participated in the release of the Governor’s Master Plan in early 2021 and held forums and workshops to explain what is included and how we can help support and expand the recommendations in the Plan.
- Held a Zoom Forum followed by our first in-person (and safe) rally and car caravan in Sacramento urging the governor to lead the way on guaranteed health care by requesting a federal waiver (which he did) and directing the Healthy CA Commission to develop a plan for a unified financing system so that CA can be the first in the nation to win guaranteed health care for all.
- Continued to receive foundation support from the Mary and Stanley Smith Foundation, the Metta Fund, and the California Endowment. Increased our online fundraising efforts by 10%.
- Continued to produce the CARA E-Alert newsletter e-mailing it at least twice a month and sometimes weekly, to more than 8000 CARA members and activists to keep them informed and engaged.
- Expanded the work of Jenni Chang, CARA’s LA county organizer to be the new CARA Communications Director to increase CARA’s online and social media presence.
- All CARA staff continue to work and adjust to our virtual world – and help our members do the same. We will be advertising for a new organizer in the Central Valley starting in 2022.
- Organized our first ever Statewide Convention – virtually – with incredible speakers, workshops, entertainment, and fun. Over 700 people registered at the time of printing.
- CARA has become the ONLY grassroots, senior advocacy organization in California, working to build a strong senior movement that works to improve the quality of life for seniors and our families, and promotes policies to help us age with dignity, independence, and love.
Priority Bills 2021-2022
2021-2022 Priority Issues
CARA 2022 Priority Issues
⬜ Protect, Improve and Expand Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – stop efforts to cut or privatize benefits
⬜ Support efforts to win guaranteed health care for all (state and nationally)
⬜ Support efforts to reform Prop 13 and other taxes to ensure that the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.
⬜ Advocate for funding for deeply affordable housing construction/ preservation/ rehabilitation, with services as needed and appropriate.
⬜ Expand protections for renters, homeowners and manufactured home owners, including protections against rising utility rates.
⬜ Support a Universal Long Term Supports and Services (LTSS) benefit for all Californians.
⬜ Continue to advocate to increase SSI/SSP base grants, reinstate full COLA.
⬜ Require transparency of drug pricing; lower drug costs, negotiate for prices.
⬜ Protect pensions and retirement benefits (state and nationally), including fighting legislative and electoral efforts to eliminate or reduce benefits.
⬜ Educate and engage seniors on climate change and other environmental issues.
⬜ Improve conditions at nursing homes and advocate for better transparency, accountability, better staffing standards and pay for workers, infection control, etc.
⬜ Support efforts to implement Campaign Finance Reform at state/national levels.
LTSS Talking Points for Healthy California Now Commission Meeting
Talking Points on LTSS at Healthy CA Commission Meeting
December 9th at 10:00am
Register for the Healthy California for All commission meeting HERE.
- Introduce self: name, where you live, your organization (CARA/ LTSS for All Grassroots/ other organization) and 1 sentence as to how you relate to Long-term Services and Supports (LTSS)
- I believe California must ensure that every Californian can afford and access the LTSS they need to be able to live and age in their home and communities.
- I support the creation of a universal LTSS program or benefit, inclusive of people with disabilities of all ages, those with chronic illnesses, undocumented immigrants, family-caregivers and other care providers, as well as current older adults and retirees.
- I believe that the best, most efficient, cost effective way to provide an LTSS is as part of a statewide single payer, unified financing system.
- LTSS must be part of a comprehensive benefit program, as LTSS is a lifespan issue, and benefits must be available from cradle to grave.
- Currently only 4.2% of Californians have private long-term care insurance, which is far from comprehensive, and less than 1% have access to publicly-funded LTSS benefits. Most people needing LTSS cannot afford to pay for the services for the length of time they need them, and either run out of money, depend on family members to provide care without compensation, or spend down their resources to become eligible for public programs or placed into institutions.
- As we learned at the last Healthy CA Commission meeting, based on the presentation by Ken Jacobs from the U,C. Berkeley Labor Center, LTSS could be included in the financing of a single payer system.
- The program benefits should be flexible enough to support the needs of caregiving family and friends since ⅔ of all people getting LTSS are supported completely by unpaid caregivers.
- To care for a family member who needs dedicated care, the toll on families can be significant. LTSS is as much about the freedom, mental and economic stability of the individual directly in need as it is for the family, caregivers, and larger society.
- Caregivers, tremendously valuable yet generally undervalued by society, have long suffered substandard working conditions, essentially experiencing wage theft based on low pay and unpaid hours. The health of our caregivers impacts our recipients of care and their families, and it is critical that we create a healthier ecosystem of care so that it is sustainable and beneficial to our communities in need.
- Thanks for listening.