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AARP: Fighting for Older Americans 2010 Advocacy Agenda

For 50 years, AARP has had one mission: making life better for older Americans. AARP was created after its founder discovered a retired teacher, who was in poor health, living in a chicken coop, with barely enough money to live on and unable to afford medical care. Since then, AARP has been fighting for the health and retirement security of older Americans, and this year we will continue our fight to: protect Medicare and Social Security; stop insurance companies from denying care; hold Wall Street accountable; help all Americans save for retirement; and ensure people can get the services they need to remain living independently in their homes and their communities.

In 2010, AARP will be fighting to help older Americans get the health care they need, to give older Americans the tools they need to remain financially stable and to make communities more livable for people of all generations.

Improving Health Care: AARP is fighting to protect Medicare for older Americans and future generations; lower prescription drug costs; eliminate waste, fraud and abuse; and crack down on insurance abuses that are denying Americans, especially those ages 50-64, access to affordable, reliable coverage.

 Health Care for Americans Ages 65+: We’re working to strengthen Medicare and other services by: protecting guaranteed benefits; lowering drug costs by closing the Part D coverage gap or "doughnut hole" and allowing the program to negotiate for lower drug prices; requiring the program to cover immunizations and important preventive screenings (e.g., cancer, diabetes and other health conditions) free of charge; cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare; providing more Americans with the choice to receive the services they need to live in their homes and communities; reducing preventable hospital readmissions by providing follow-up care that will help individuals transition out of the hospital; holding down Medicare premium increases; strengthening assistance with cost sharing obligations for people with very limited incomes, and ensuring older Americans have access to doctors by improving the way Medicare pays for physician care.

Health Care for Americans Ages 50-64: We’re fighting to make health care more affordable and accessible to older Americans by: preventing insurance companies from denying affordable care to anyone based on age or pre-existing conditions; providing a choice of insurance plans to those who don’t have coverage now; offering assistance to people who can’t afford to pay insurance premiums; limiting out-of-pocket costs; preventing insurance companies from putting a cap on the amount of health care you can receive in a given year or over the course of your life or taking away a person’s coverage if they get sick; creating a new option to help individuals plan and pay for the services they need to live in their homes and communities; and providing consumers with access to safe, lower-cost drugs from abroad as well as affordable generic versions of biologic medications used to treat serious diseases such as cancer.

Fighting for Economic Relief: AARP is fighting to provide $250 in relief to millions of older Americans whose Social Security benefits will be frozen this year.  Since automatic Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLAs) went into effect in 1975, there has never been a year without a COLA. The 65+ population needs relief because older Americans are paying more out-of-pocket for medical care and prescription drugs, have suffered a real decline in their retirement accounts and in housing values, and face longer periods of unemployment for those who need to work.

Strengthening Social Security: AARP is fighting to protect Social Security for today’s older Americans and future generations.  We are also working to ensure that the Social Security Administration has the resources to provide the level of services our members need.

Helping Americans Save: AARP is calling on Congress to help Americans save for retirement by supporting a plan that would allow individuals whose employers don’t provide a retirement plan to automatically enroll in a retirement savings account, such as an IRA.

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