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AARP Commends Sen. Baucus for Health Care Reform Plan

November 12, 2008

Contact: Jim Dau 202-434-2560 jdau@aarp.org

WASHINGTON – AARP CEO Bill Novelli today released the following statement in response to the release today by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of his comprehensive health care reform plan.

“Senator Baucus understands that our country – individuals, employers and government – cannot afford to keep our broken health care system. Health care reform is a top priority for our nation, and on behalf of our 40 million members, AARP commends Senator Baucus for his leadership on this issue.

“We are still analyzing the details in Senator Baucus’ comprehensive plan, but we are particularly encouraged to see it recognizes the need to:

make quality, affordable health care coverage options available to all Americans – including people age 55-64, who are the fastest growing segment of the uninsured;

prevent insurers from denying coverage or charging excessive premiums to people with prior illnesses and conditions;

strengthen the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; and

ensure that older Americans and people with disabilities can access long term care services and supports that help keep them in their homes and out of institutions.

“AARP also strongly agrees with the emphasis on refocusing our health care system to promote prevention, strengthen our health care work force, and reward quality rather than quantity of care, as well as ensuring that all people with incomes below the poverty line can access Medicaid.

“We strongly support efforts to advance health information technology and research on the comparative effectiveness of health care treatments, reduce excess payments to Medicare Advantage plans, increase transparency and accountability, promote chronic care management and coordination across care settings, and fight fraud waste and abuse. And we agree that there should be careful evaluation of ways to better address medical malpractice.

“It’s telling that Senator Baucus released his plan one week after Election Day, when voters across the country delivered a clear message: health care is an economic issue, and they can’t afford to wait.

“We applaud Sen. Baucus and look forward to working with him, his colleagues from both parties in the House and the Senate, the new Obama Administration, and all other stakeholders to make meaningful, comprehensive health reform a reality.”

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 34.5 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's 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.org. 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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