GOP platform puts focus on home-based long-term care, elder abuse

Republicans in the House
Republicans in the House

The Republican National Committee will set its sights on policies that foster home health and seniors' preferences in 2016, according to the party's final platform.

The platform, released on Monday during the convention in Cleveland, says the country's aging population needs “safe and affordable care.”

“Because most seniors desire to age at home, we will make homecare a priority in public policy and will implement programs to protect against elder abuse,” the platform reads.

That is a slight departure from the party's 2012 platform, which included provisions on seniors' choices and combating elder abuse, but also a call “to ensure that quality care is provided across the care continuum from home to nursing home to hospice.”

The 2016 platform also includes a call to preserve the Medicare and Medicaid programs while reining in spending “before they consume most of the federal budget.”

Also included in the platform are plans to stop advancement of the Affordable Care Act, religious exemptions and funding for Alzheimer's research.

The GOP convention was off to a rocky start in its first day, with some delegates grinding the convention to a halt Monday with cries of “roll call vote,” and allegations over plagarism in Melania Trump's speech. But one problem in particular will resonate with long-term care providers: A norovirus outbreak, allegedly brought by California GOPers, has hit a dozen people.

None of the California delegates have showed signs of the virus, but party officials have encouraged members of the delegation to frequently wash their hands, avoid sharing food and pass on shaking hands with others — in addition to placing several hand sanitizer stations around the Ohio hotel where they are staying.