June 25, 2009
The Honorable Lois Capps
United States House of Representatives
1110 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Capps:
It was a pleasure meeting with you on recently to discuss AARP’s priorities for comprehensive health care reform and our shared interest in enacting such legislation. AARP applauds your longstanding leadership on health and nursing issues. Thank you for your willingness to be an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Medicare Transitional Care Act (H.R. 2773) and for sponsoring and introducing the Medicare Graduate Nursing Education bill.
As Congress and the President work in earnest on health care legislation, we appreciate your interest in I AARP’s six key objectives for any health care reform package:
1. Guaranteeing access to affordable coverage for Americans age 50-64;
2. Closing the Medicare Part D coverage gap or “doughnut hole”;
3. Creating a Medicare transitional care benefit to help people safely return to their homes or other settings after a hospital stay and prevent costly hospital readmissions;
4. Increasing federal funding and eligibility for home- and community-based services so older Americans can remain in their homes and avoid more costly institutions as they age;
5. Creating a pathway for the approval of safe and affordable generic versions of biologic drugs; and
6. Improving the Medicare Savings Program and Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS) so more Americans can afford the health care and prescriptions they need.
The Medicare Graduate Nursing Education program would support two of our top six priorities: guaranteeing access to affordable coverage for Americans age 50-64 and for the Medicare transitional care benefit.
You may be interested to know that in 2007, 22 percent of Californians enrolled in Medicare Part D reached the “doughnut hole,” where they were responsible for
all their drug costs, but they still had to pay their Part D plan premiums. With increasing drug prices consistently outpacing inflation, the doughnut hole keeps getting larger. Congress should begin to close the doughnut hole.
We welcome the opportunity to continue working with you on health care reform. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me or have your staff contact Rhonda Richards of our Federal Health and Long-Term Care Team at (202) 434-3770.
Elaine M. Ryan
Vice President, Government Affairs
Government Relations and Advocacy