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AARP Members Advocate for Health Care Reform

In communities throughout Massachusetts, AARP members are volunteering to advocate for health care reform—reform that controls costs, improves quality and provides all Americans with affordable, quality health care choices. They are working to educate the community about health reform. And, they are sharing the views, concerns and experiences of local AARP members and their families with the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation.

“Especially in this tough economy it is critical that we come together as a nation and solve the health care crisis by working in communities, at the State House, with Congress and at the White House,” says Deborah Banda, AARP Massachusetts state director. “We know many AARP members and their families are struggling to make ends meet, whether due to job loss, dwindling retirement savings, or the skyrocketing cost of health care. Now is the time to make our voices heard and work for change.”

Members Making a Difference in their Communities

Many answered AARP’s call for volunteers to work on its health reform campaign, called Health Action Now, because the health care system costs too much, wastes too much, makes too many mistakes, and gives too little value for money. Here’s what some members had to say about getting involved:

Kathleen Campanirio of Taunton, a volunteer coordinator in Congressional District 4, is recently retired with a background in health care and business management. She says, “I have always been involved in the community, and felt a need to give back at a bigger level.”

For Rick Goldberg of Winchester, experiencing problems with his own health insurance led him to work for change. He says, “Everyone needs health coverage, with better reliability, better preventive care, and better health outcomes.”

Shrewsbury resident Lillian Ho says, “Health care affects everyone—rich, poor, young, old, employed, self-employed, sick and healthy. I wanted to get involved, and AARP was the place to hang my hat. AARP represents me—my needs, my interests and my future.”

As one of four volunteer coordinators in Congressional District 5, Linda Ardis of Dracut believes, “We should be able to have healthcare, and not spend every cent of our money on prescription drugs and doctor’s visits.”

Reading resident Alan Ulrich believes, “Health care reform is an issue that affects every single American. And many of us are negatively affected by cost and availability.” Ulrich says he wanted to get involved so he could “…help with issues that are important to AARP members.”

Affordable health care for all Americans

AARP is fighting to make sure health reform works for everyone, and has urged Congress to take six steps to guarantee that all Americans have the choice of quality health care plans they can afford:

1. Guarantee affordable coverage for Americans ages 50 to 64.

2. Close the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap—“doughnut hole.”

3. Create access to generic versions of costly biologic drugs used to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.

4. Prevent costly hospital readmissions by creating a Medicare follow up care benefit to help people transition home after a hospital stay.

5. Increase federal funding and eligibility for home and community based services through Medicaid so older Americans can remain in their homes and avoid more costly institutional care.

6. Improve programs that help low income Americans in Medicare afford the health care they need.

We Need Your Help Too!

To get involved with AARP’s Health Action Now campaign in your community, email us at ma@aarp.org or call 1-866-448-3621.

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