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2006 Budget Reconciliation Conference Agreement--Letter to the House of Representatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560, media@aarp.org

Dear Representative:

The House of Representatives will soon have another opportunity to consider the 2006 budget reconciliation conference agreement. AARP strongly urges you to oppose the measure.

The current reconciliation agreement puts the interests of the pharmaceutical and managed care industries over the well-being of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

While some may have been under the impression in the rush of the previous vote that harmful policy changes had been addressed, the final conference package still includes policies that will put the health and long term care of millions of lower income and older Americans at risk by:

  • Making it harder for vulnerable Americans needing long-term care to qualify for Medicaid and punishing older persons who have simply helped their families;
  • Forcing some Americans to forfeit their homes in order to get long-term care services;
  • Requiring all Medicare Part B beneficiaries to pay higher premiums and reopening the MMA, not to make improvements in the new drug benefit, but to require those with more income to pay higher Part B premiums sooner; and
  • Forcing low-income Medicaid recipients to pay more for their care — and if they cannot afford to do so — to potentially be denied care entirely.

Throughout the debate AARP acknowledged the need to improve Medicaid. In fact, responsible alternatives were put forward that would achieve the goals of preventing those who can afford coverage from qualifying for Medicaid while protecting those who truly need the care. However, the final package chose to include provisions that hurt those who need help the most, while shielding the pharmaceutical and managed care industries.

The House of Representatives has one more chance to get it right. AARP urges you to reject the 2006 budget reconciliation conference agreement.

Sincerely,

William D. Novelli
Chief Executive Officer

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