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Health Care Reform: "It's the Costs, Stupid"

WASHINGTON — Yesterday, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report stating that if U.S. health care cost trends continue it could rise to 49 percent of GDP – up from 16 percent today. This summer, the Census Bureau found that roughly 47 million people did not have health insurance in this nation, an increase of nearly 2.2 million over the last year.

And today, we read that health care reform proposals in Illinois and California continue to meet with strong resistance. In reaction, AARP spokesperson Drew Nannis gave the following statement:

“Health care reform is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. This is an American issue, and if we do not come together as a nation to address the high cost of health care in a meaningful way the price for our inaction will be paid by everyone from working families to major corporations.

“Yesterday’s CBO report pointed out that the growth in health care costs accounts for about 90 percent of the projected growth in federal Medicare and Medicaid spending over the next 75 years, while the aging population will only account for 10 percent.

“The health care conversation in this country needs a radical change. While there are some commendable leaders discussing our government’s financial health, we need our elected officials to look at the real long-term threat – the skyrocketing costs of health care throughout the system. Talking about programs while ignoring the costs that drive them is like replacing the roof while the house is burning. Our leaders are focused on federal programs when they should be talking about health care costs – costs that can be lowered through health IT initiatives, comparative effectiveness research, care coordination, and speeding generic drugs to market.”

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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