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AARP Statement on Historic Health Insurance Reform Package

March 19, 2010

AARP Media Relations,, 202-434-2560

AARP Statement on Historic Health Insurance Reform Package

WASHINGTON—Today, AARP Board Chair Bonnie M. Cramer, M.S.W., announced the Association’s support for health insurance reform legislation containing key reform provisions that will improve health care for older Americans and their families. For more than two years, AARP has fought for health insurance reform that helps Americans 50-plus get the care and medications they need at a price they can afford. Cramer’s statement follows:

“After a thorough analysis of the reform package, we believe this legislation brings us so much closer to helping millions of older Americans get quality, affordable health care. For too long, our members and others have faced spiraling prescription drug costs, discriminatory practices by insurance companies and a Medicare system awash in fraud, waste and abuse.

“The legislative package cracks down on insurance company abuses and protects and strengthens guaranteed benefits in Medicare, the program millions of our members depend on and in which millions more will soon enroll. It closes the dreaded Medicare Part D ‘doughnut hole,’ a gap in prescription drug coverage that is life-threatening for many. The package stops insurance companies from pricing people out of coverage because they have an existing health problem or arbitrarily limiting the amount of care someone can receive. It also limits insurance companies’ ability to charge higher premiums based solely on age. And it improves efforts to crack down on fraud and waste in Medicare, strengthening the program for today’s seniors and future generations.

“For every American who has struggled without access to health insurance—and for all those at risk of losing their current coverage with the next job loss, illness or premium hike—this package presents the best hope to offer health security for them and their families. We understand that significant work remains even after this package becomes law, but we cannot lose the opportunity looking for a ‘next time’ that is doomed to be ‘too late.’

“We urge Congress to seize this opportunity to improve health care so older Americans and their families get the care they need.”

Also today, AARP CEO A. Barry Rand sent a letter to every member of the House of Representatives, urging them to put the health of Americans age 50-plus first and vote “yes” on the legislative package.

AARP members can see how their representatives voted on the health insurance reform package by going to AARP’s Government Watch is a one-stop online portal that will be tracking and publicizing every designated key vote on issues facing Americans age 50-plus. A “Key Vote Summary” highlighting votes on these issues will be published at the end of each congressional session.

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 35.7 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of 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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