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Don't Let Health Care Myths Hide the Truth

As AARP representatives travel the state talking to Vermonters about health care reform, one thing is clear—people are concerned and confused! The misinformation and scare tactics about this needed reform are getting more attention that the facts. The truth is too often getting lost in the frenzy of negative and sensational press reports. That doesn’t help the public debate.

It’s critically important to get the facts on this issue and realize the good that will come of this historical effort to fix health care in America… and in Vermont.

Common myths and claims:

We can’t afford it

We can not afford the status quo—any one of us could be one pink slip or one serious illness away from financial ruin. If we do nothing to fix health care, families with Medicare or employer-based health coverage will likely see their premiums nearly double again in the next seven years.

Reform proposals will cut Medicare benefits

None of the major health care reform plans currently being considered would cut Medicare benefits. Reform will lower prescription drug costs for people in the Part D “doughnut hole,” protect access to doctors, prevent costly and avoidable hospital readmissions, improve quality of care, and eliminate billions of dollars in waste that is causing poor care and medical errors. Right now, preventable hospital readmissions alone cost Medicare billions of dollars.

It’s a government takeover and will ration care

Health care reform will not be a government takeover. All of the main proposals currently being debated by Congress would preserve the employer-based health care system, meaning an estimated 200 million Americans will continue to get their coverage through their employers.

Health care reform will not give the government the power to make important health care decisions, regardless of a person’s age.

What about mandatory end of life counseling/govt. euthanasia?

Not only is that completely false, it is a misleading and cruel scare tactic. Health care reform will NOT give the government the power to make life or death decisions for anyone regardless of their age.

AARP is calling on Congress to guarantee all Americans have a choice of dependable, affordable health insurance plans and preserve your choice of doctors who can work with you to make the best possible health care decisions for you and your family. AARP believes health care is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s about people’s lives. We believe health care reform must fix what’s wrong and preserve what’s right. Health care reform must strengthen and improve Medicare, protect people’s choice of doctor and insurance plan, stop insurance companies from charging older people unaffordable premiums, and guarantee dependable, affordable coverage.

Vermont took an important first step in passing its own health care reform package in 2006 and key elements of that plan are part of the national solutions being considered. But our initiatives on both cost control and access for all cannot be realized without a federal solution in place.

Don’t be fooled by unfounded myths and scare tactics. We can’t play politics with health care, especially when people’s lives are at risk. Now’s the time to talk about what works and what doesn't—to find a common-sense solution to our nation’s health care challenges. The time for real health care change is now.

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