What you need to know about the Democratic platform

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Democratic platform provisions would affect senior living
Democratic platform provisions would affect senior living

It's official. The party platform approved by the Democratic Platform Committee earlier this month was ratified at the Democratic National Convention late Monday in Philadelphia. Here we've highlighted, in alphabetical order, topics in the 55-page document that may be of particular interest to those working in senior living.

Affordable housing

The platform calls for preserving and increasing the supply of affordable rental housing by expanding incentives and increasing funding for the national Housing Trust Fund to construct, preserve and rehabilitate millions of affordable housing rental units. The elderly are among those who most need affordable housing, the document states.

Alzheimer's disease

The platform calls for increasing funding to the National Institutes of Health to accelerate progress in research related to Alzheimer's and other diseases, especially chronic ones.

Medicare and Medicaid

The Democrats say they will push for all Americans to be able to access public health insurance coverage through a public option on the health insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act.

Party members vow to fight any attempts to privatize, “voucherize,” or phase out Medicare. Also, Americans should be able to opt into Medicare Part D at the age of 55, according to the platform.

The party also says it will work to expand Medicaid via the ACA in the 19 states that have not done so.

Long-term services and supports

The Democrats say they will take steps to give older adults and people with disabilities access to quality, affordable long-term services and supports; strengthen and expand the home healthcare workforce; and ensure that these resources are readily available at home or in the community.

“Programs that emphasize independence rather than institutionalization must be better structured to support” older adults and people with disabilities, the platform states.

Minimum wage and unions

The platform calls for the federal minimum wage to be increased to $15 over an unspecified period of time and to be indexed in an unspecified way. The document also calls for ending the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers and people with disabilities.

The party says it also believes that all Americans should have the right to join a union regardless of where they work. Members say they will fight for laws that direct the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union if a simple majority of eligible workers sign valid authorization cards.

“Democrats support a model employer executive order or some other vehicle to leverage federal dollars to support employers who provide their workers with a living wage, good benefits, and the opportunity to form a union without reprisal,” the platform states.

Social Security

The party says it will fight efforts to cut, privatize or weaken Social Security, including attempts to raise the retirement age, reduce benefits by cutting cost-of-living adjustments or decrease earned benefits. In fact, the platform calls for expanding Social Security to benefit widows and family caregivers.

The party seeks to extend the solvency of Social Security by taxing some of the income of people above $250,000.

Read about the Republican Party platform, ratified last week, here.

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