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AARP Commends House for Passing CHAMP Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

AARP: "This legislation helps older Americans, helps kids and helps doctors; it is opposed by the tobacco and insurance companies. Who are the American people going to side with?"

AARP CEO Bill Novelli applauded the House of Representatives today after it voted to approve H.R. 3162, the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act (CHAMP). Novelli's statement follows:

"We need to make major changes to fix the American health care system, and the CHAMP Act is a beginning. By addressing the needs of the most vulnerable - lower-income children and older Americans - we begin to shape the building blocks for full-scale health reform. The House deserves to be congratulated for their action.

"This legislation helps older Americans, helps kids and helps doctors; it is opposed by the tobacco and insurance companies. Who are the American people going to side with?

"The CHAMP Act helps ensure Medicare members can continue to see their physicians, and it helps to protect beneficiaries from significant premium increases. The bill also assists low-income Medicare beneficiaries, helping them pay for their prescription drugs and out of pocket costs. It also expands access to preventive and mental health benefits for all Medicare beneficiaries. Further, the CHAMP Act reauthorizes the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) -and provides health insurance coverage to five million more uninsured children.

"Lawmakers found two effective and responsible ways to offset the cost of the CHAMP Act. Increased tobacco taxes not only help pay for health care improvements, but also lower health care costs in the future by decreasing smoking. Reducing excess payments to private Medicare Advantage plans restores the balance between Medicare Advantage and traditional Medicare, resulting in billions of dollars more for programs that help everyone.

"While this vote moves the CHAMP Act one step closer to law, we are not finished yet. AARP will continue to press Congress to put a bill on the President's desk. We have recorded today's vote and we will inform our members how their Representatives voted. The House action puts this country's most vulnerable-kids and older Americans-front and center. We look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers to make the CHAMP Act a reality."

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