From AARP CEO, Barry Rand
We started this debate more than two years ago with the twin goals of making coverage affordable to our younger members and protecting Medicare for seniors. We've read the Affordable Health Care for America Act and we can say with confidence that it meets those goals with improved benefits for people in Medicare and needed health insurance market reforms to help ensure every American can purchase affordable health coverage.
Today's endorsement marks the first time in this legislative battle that AARP has put its full weight behind a comprehensive health care reform package. In the coming days, AARP will be educating its members about the health care reform package through its publications, paid advertising and more than five million calls and e-mails to its grassroots activists.
As members of the House gear up for this historic vote, they will hear from older Americans.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act and the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act contain critical components AARP has been fighting for on behalf of its members and all older Americans to improve health care for them and their families. They include:
- Protecting and strengthening Medicare for today's seniors and future generations of retirees;
- Ensuring seniors can see the doctor of their choice or find a doctor if they need one by improving Medicare's payments to doctors;
- Lowering drug costs for seniors by closing the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" and allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug makers for lower drug prices;
- Taking steps to reduce waste, fraud, abuse and inefficiency in the Medicare program;
- Requiring Medicare and insurance companies to provide for important preventive services like screenings for diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis free of charge;
- Stopping insurance companies from denying you affordable coverage because of your age;
- Preventing insurance companies from denying you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition or dropping your coverage if you get sick;
- Limiting how much your insurance company can make you pay out-of-pocket;
- Providing affordable health insurance options for those who don't have insurance; and
- Providing benefits to help seniors and people with disabilities live in their own homes and communities by establishing the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program.
We cannot continue to let insurers price older Americans out of the market, just as we cannot stand idle while millions of seniors are forced to choose between their groceries and their prescriptions. AARP is proud to endorse the Affordable Health Care for America Act and the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act, and we urge members of the House to pass this critical package in the coming days to help fix our broken health care system.