AARP CEO, Bill Novelli, made the following statement in reaction to the President’s State of the Union Address:
The President did the right thing tonight by putting health care high on the national agenda. Escalating health care costs are a hidden tax on all individuals, businesses, the states, and the federal government. We cannot afford to continue to ignore this problem.
We applaud the Administration’s proposals to begin modernizing the health care system by advancing health information technology and reducing medical errors. These initiatives can help to reduce costs, improve care and make the system more efficient for consumers. By tackling the real issue of skyrocketing costs throughout the health care system, we can strengthen Medicare and Medicaid.
In addition to these important steps, we also need to find ways to help Americans of all ages afford quality health care. Some proposals, like health savings accounts, have yet to demonstrate that they can reduce the number of uninsured or make quality care more affordable. We must work to ensure that quality health coverage is available to the healthy and the sick, the young and the old, the rich and the poor.
The current health care system is unsustainable and we owe it to the American public to find a solution. AARP stands ready to work with the Congress and the Administration to find that solution.
A year ago, the President stood before us and talked about the challenge of strengthening Social Security. Today, that challenge still exists. Tonight the President proposed a Commission to examine the full impact of Boomer retirements on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The Commission should put us on a path to strengthen these programs to ensure the health and retirement security of current and future generations.