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AARP Rallies to Win Medicare, Housing Votes

AARP scored two significant victories when Congress passed a housing bill and overrode President Bush’s veto of a Medicare bill before lawmakers began their August recess.

Though Democrats and Republicans agreed to block a scheduled 10.6 percent cut in fees for 600,000 doctors treating Medicare recipients, the measure forces cuts in the private Medicare Advantage insurance plans and imposes new standards for electronic prescriptions.

AARP mobilized 1.2 million calls, letters and e-mails to Capitol Hill, and lawmakers easily overrode Bush’s veto. AARP CEO Bill Novelli praised the bipartisan vote: “It lays the groundwork … for broader health care reform. By instituting a system of electronic prescribing, this bill will reduce errors and improve efficiency.”

AARP also supported an overhaul of federal housing and mortgage programs. That legislation helps homeowners facing foreclosure and shores up federally supported Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac­­—companies that buy primary and secondary mortgages. It also puts new restrictions on reverse mortgages, especially restricting fees.

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