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Statement by AARP Associate Executive Director Chris Hansen on AARP's Endorsement of the Smith-Bingaman Amendment

AARP is endorsing the Smith-Bingaman amendment to strike $14 billion in Medicaid cuts from the budget resolution and instead create a bipartisan Medicaid commission.

"Sound policy – not arbitrary budget targets – should be the driving force for strengthening and improving the Medicaid program," said AARP Associate Executive Director Chris Hansen. "Over 40 million Americans rely on Medicaid and we cannot afford to let them down. A Medicaid commission can help foster a much-needed dialogue about how to take prudent steps to make this critical safety net stronger and sustainable in the long run."

Hansen stressed the importance of ensuring that those named to the commission bring a broad and carefully balanced perspective that includes all stakeholders, and that they have adequate time and resources to carefully consider the policy options.

Medicaid is the last resort for millions of older Americans, the disabled, children in poverty, working families that cannot afford private insurance, and those whose medical expenses have exhausted their private resources and insurance benefits. The program also is an integral part of the entire health care system, and thus "any solution lies in taking a long-range view that includes Medicaid's role in the larger health care system."

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