McDonnell to Create “Golden Dogwood Senior Discount Card”
McDonnell Also Notes his Support for Enhanced Penalties for Crimes Against the Elderly; Incentives for Preparing for Long Term Care
HERNDON- Bob McDonnell, Republican gubernatorial candidate and former Attorney General of Virginia, traveled to the Herndon Senior Center today to visit with the members of the Silver-Light Asian Senior Association and announce his plans to create a “Golden Dogwood Senior Discount Card” for Virginia seniors. While at the center, McDonnell also reiterated his previously announced plans to increase penalties for crimes committed against the elderly, and commit Virginia’s government to providing incentives to encourage the purchase of long-term care insurance. McDonnell also noted his record of leading on issues important to seniors, including healthcare, public safety and consumer fraud.
Speaking about his plans, Bob McDonnell noted, “By 2030 one out of four Virginians will be over 60. It is imperative that we prepare for this development, as it will have a direct impact on what government services are most in demand, how those government services are provided, and state spending. We should also seek to position Virginia well to benefit from the aging of America, by making the Commonwealth a destination for retirees nationwide. Retirees bring with them tax revenue, life skills and great contributions to their communities. One step we can take to accomplish this is a fairly simple one, and it is modeled on a successful effort that has been in place in Ohio for decades. We will create a “Golden Dogwood Senior Discount Card” that will provide seniors with discounts at participating retailers statewide. This voluntary program will encourage seniors to patron their local businesses, and reward seniors for all they have done for Virginia. It’s a simple, easy to enact, program that will help seniors and Virginia businesses. A race is on among the states to attract retirees and be the best possible places for seniors to call home. I want Virginia to win this race, and I will look for every possible step we can take to make that happen.”
About The “Golden Dogwood Senior Discount Card”
As Governor, Bob McDonnell will direct the Virginia Department on Aging to develop and implement a statewide senior discount program for all Virginians 60 and older. The discount card will also be provided to those who are 18-59 and are defined as disabled by the Social Security Administration. This state sanctioned discount card will help older and disabled Virginians by offering discounts on everything from auto service to restaurants to medical supplies, at participating businesses. Retailers will have the flexibility to provide percentage discounts on all products and services or special deals - whichever makes most sense for their business and customer base. The “Golden Dogwood Senior Discount Card will be a fully voluntary program for Virginia retailers, however, in Ohio where a similar program has existed for over 30 years - over 20,000 businesses participate. He will also ensure that the Department of Aging partners with pharmaceutical benefits managers and pharmacies to incorporate a discount on prescription drugs at chain and independent pharmacies throughout the Commonwealth. A similar volunteer service is provided through the innovative Golden Mountaineer Card program in West Virginia. This component of the card’s benefits would complement the efforts of the Virginia Healthcare Foundation’s discount program done in cooperation with pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Bob McDonnell’s Plans to Provide Financial Protection and Help with Long-Term Care Planning
Unfortunately, older citizens often become the target of financial scam artists looking to exploit their vulnerabilities. A financial scam artist who victimizes older Virginians must be punished harshly. He will propose legislation to punish more harshly those crimes where the victims are selected due to their age and perceived vulnerability, by raising the punishment for specific financial crimes by one class. Further, in cases of grand larceny and crimes punished as grand larceny, the punishment will include active jail time; and repeat offenders will receive a mandatory minimum two year sentence.
Bob McDonnell knows the challenges of caring for an aging parent. He struggled to keep his father, an Alzheimer’s patient, at home for five years with a caretaker, before turning to a nursing home option. He knows that we must ensure that Virginians and their families are saving now for long-term care in the future, just as they do for college tuition and retirement. Currently, there is a tax credit equal to 15% of long-term care insurance premiums paid by an individual. As Governor, Bob McDonnell will provide for an increase in the refundable tax credit for purchase of long term care insurance. An increase in and expansion of the tax credit will allow individuals who pay premiums for themselves and children who pay premiums for elderly parents to receive the tax credit up to 30 percent of the premium cost. Information and awareness of the need for long term care insurance must also be provided in more venues in Virginia.
Bob McDonnell’s Record
Bob McDonnell has a long record of support for senior citizens. As a Delegate, he co-sponsored legislation to establish, within the Department for the Aging, a toll-free number to provide resources, assistance, and referral information to older Virginians and their families. In 2000, he co-sponsored a bill to provide up to $100,000 in matching funds to organizations for the development or expansion of adult day care services, or other services that provide respite care to aged, infirm, or disabled adults. Bob continued his commitment to senior citizens while serving as Attorney General. McDonnell led the Office of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to recovery of over $650 Million fraudulently taken from the Medicaid and Medicare systems, and created an Investigative Squad within his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, consisting of specially trained nurses and criminal investigators, to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect of the elderly. He also wrote and fought for passage of legislation that increased the criminal penalties for those who, through abuse or neglect, cause the death of an incapacitated adult.
As Attorney General, Bob McDonnell successfully prosecuted financial fraud schemes perpetrated by nursing home employees who preyed on vulnerable residents. He also championed the creation of the “Senior Alert” system in Virginia, and received the “Alzheimer’s Advocate 2007” Award from the Greater Richmond Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for his work in establishing the Senior Alert system. Further, McDonnell increased participation in the Triad program by adding new localities and continuing to strengthen partnerships with existing Traids. “Triad” is a partnership in which senior citizens and a public safety agency within a locality, along with the Office of the Attorney General, join to address crime prevention and safety issues that affect or involve senior citizens. Triad programs apply a successful crime prevention model with the goal of reducing crime against the elderly in their communities. Such efforts equip the Commonwealth’s senior citizens with information to protect themselves from consumer fraud, crimes committed against seniors, elder abuse, financial crimes, and other types of exploitation.