AARP Montana State Director Bob Bartholomew applauded Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester for their work to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate just before Christmas. "Today, Montanans have another reason to celebrate. After years of effort to fix our flawed health care system, passage of this monumental legislation represents a triumph for not only older Montanans, but citizens across the state. The vote allows members of the House of Representatives and Senate to begin merging their respective bills and enact health reform legislation early in the New Year."
Bartholomew's comments echoed those of AARP CEO A. Barry Rand who released this statement:
“This vote brought us closer to meaningful health care reform than we have ever been before. Passage of the Senate health care reform bill clears the way for Congress to enact legislation in the coming weeks that will protect and strengthen Medicare, ensure millions more Americans can get affordable health coverage and sharply curtail discriminatory insurance company practices that keep those most in need out of the system."
AARP noted that the bill passed by the Senate makes needed progress to prevent coverage denials due to health status and limit insurance companies from charging older Americans much more for coverage because of their age. It also begins to close the dangerous gap in Medicare drug coverage known as the doughnut hole, and Senate leaders including Senator Baucus have committed that a final bill will close the gap entirely by 2019. In addition, the Senate bill adds important new Medicare benefits, such as free preventive care, and encourages states to provide more home and community-based long-term care services and supports instead of costlier institutional care.
“AARP thanks the Senate for advancing this critical legislation," Rand stated. "We look forward to working with members of both chambers during the conference committee to improve this legislation and enact a final package that is even stronger so that America’s health care system finally meets the needs of our members and all older Americans.”
For more information on AARP’s health care reform effort, please visit AARP.org.