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Proposal To Privatize PA Lottery Must Protect And Enhance Funding For Neglected Programs Helping Older Pennsylvanians Remain At Home

Pennsylvania currently operates the nation's sixth largest lottery. According to last year's Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Report on the Pennsylvania Lottery, annual sales rose from slightly less than $2 billion in 2001-02 to a record $3.4 billion in 2011-12—a mark that is expected to be surpassed again this year.      

Despite the record sales, recent changes to the allocation of lottery revenues have resulted in cutbacks in services such as home delivered meals, reductions of hours at Senior Centers and fewer transportation options for older Pennsylvanians. Landis said Pennsylvania is using lottery funding as a crutch to address runaway costs of nursing home care in the state Medicaid program.

"In the 2012-13 budget alone, a record $309 million was shifted from lottery revenues to the Medicaid nursing home budget," he said. "In fact over the last five years, more than a billion dollars have been diverted from the Lottery Fund to the Medicaid program, while the budget for other lottery-funded programs remained stagnant."

Landis said the impact of any decision on privatization will be greatly diminished if the Lottery Fund is not first used to support and expand existing programs that help older Pennsylvanians stay at home and in their community.  

"AARP believes Medicaid nursing home expenses should return to the General Fund so the Lottery Fund can fulfill its intended purpose—providing essential assistance to help older adults remain at home," he said.  "That's because in the end, everyone buying a lottery ticket in the Commonwealth deserves to know that their purchase is truly helping older Pennsylvanians live where they want." 

AARP has 1.8 million members in Pennsylvania. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for Americans 50+ and the world's largest-circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for the 50+ audience; AARP VIVA, a bilingual lifestyle multimedia platform addressing the interests and needs of Hispanic Americans; and national television and radio programming including My Generation and Inside E Street . The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org .

CONTACT: Steve Gardner, AARP PA(717) 237-6481 or sgardner@aarp.org

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