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AARP to Congress: Pass Health Care Reform this Year

January 28, 2010

AARP Media Relations,, 202-434-2560

AARP to Congress: Pass Health Care Reform this Year

WASHINGTON—Today, AARP CEO A. Barry Rand sent a letter on behalf of the Association’s approximately 40 million members to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, urging Congress to enact comprehensive health care reform legislation this year. Rand’s letter to congressional leadership follows:

“We were heartened to hear the President urge the Congress to move forward on health care reform legislation in his State of the Union Address last night. Like the President, we at AARP hear countless stories from members who’ve been denied affordable coverage because of their age or a pre-existing condition or can’t afford their prescription drugs or other health and long-term care costs. Health care remains among the most important and personal economic issues for the vast majority of Americans. The problem is only getting worse, and we have come too far to halt progress on health care reform. On behalf of AARP’s nearly 40 million members, we urge that you continue to work together to enact comprehensive health care reform legislation this year.

“Both chambers of Congress have passed comprehensive health reform legislation—a first in our nation’s history—which would help tens of millions of Americans get the affordable care they need while strengthening and protecting guaranteed Medicare benefits. These bills share many vital provisions for which there has been a long history of bipartisan support. Both bills would expand access to affordable quality coverage, bar insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, limit age discriminatory pricing, promote prevention and wellness, advance delivery and payment system reforms to reward quality rather than quantity of care, and strengthen efforts to fight fraud, waste and abuse.

“Health spending consumes more than 18 percent of our nation’s economy today, and will reach 20 percent within seven years if current trends continue. These skyrocketing costs have been busting the budgets of families and businesses as well as the government – crowding out other priorities – as health care costs continue to grow 2-3 times faster than general inflation. That is why all the major health care stakeholders have come to the table to solve this problem – it is simply unsustainable. We cannot afford to wait another year to enact health care reform. Our nation’s long-term economic health depends upon it.

“AARP will continue to urge Congress and the Administration to enact health care reform this year that meets the following critical priorities for older Americans:
* strengthening Medicare and protecting the program’s guaranteed benefits;
* lowering drug costs for seniors by closing the Medicare ‘doughnut hole’ coverage gap;
* cracking down on insurance company abuses, especially those that deny affordable coverage due to pre-existing conditions or discriminate based on age; and
* getting people who need long-term care the services and supports that help them remain in their homes and communities.

“We thank you for your leadership on these issues of vital importance to our members and all Americans, and we look forward to working with you, the Obama Administration, and other members of Congress to enact health care reform this year.”


A. Barry Rand

cc: Members of Congress

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable 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 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.5 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's nearly 40 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, 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. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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