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Statement by AARP CEO Bill Novelli on Medicare Drug Benefit

Millions of Medicare beneficiaries are saving money everyday with their new Medicare drug plans. But confusion during this first year has left some without important coverage. Waiving the late enrollment penalty makes good sense.

Removing the permanent late enrollment penalty for this first year should encourage Medicare beneficiaries without drug coverage to enroll in the program at the next opportunity.

Increasing the number of people in Medicare drug plans not only helps more older and disabled Americans better afford the medications they need, but also creates a larger risk pool, making the benefit more sustainable over the long-term.

We are encouraged that Members of Congress are working in a bi-partisan way to help improve the Medicare drug benefit. We are especially pleased that efforts are underway to help limited-income seniors enroll and apply for extra help.

We will work with Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Max Baucus (D-MT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and others to make sure that this new program helps as many people as possible. We are continuing our education efforts to help people eligible for the limited-income subsidy to sign up for the program. And we are also working to lower the cost of prescription drugs for all Americans.

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