AARP CEO Thanks Biden for Health Care Reform!

July 28, 2009

Medical News Today News Article

Medical News Today
AARP Thanks Vice President Biden, Administration, For Working To Improve Health Care For Older Americans
20 Jul 2009

This afternoon, AARP CEO A. Barry Rand delivered the following remarks at the White House Middle Class Task Force Town Hall in Alexandria, Va., during a discussion with Vice President Biden, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle, on how health care reform will lower costs, cut waste, and improve quality for seniors from across the country.

Rand’s remarks as prepared for delivery follow:

“Good afternoon everyone and welcome. I’m happy to be here with so many of our AARP family. Mr. Vice President, I want to thank you for hosting this Middle Class Task Force Town Hall and focusing in on ‘How Health Care Reform Will Help Seniors.’ Because as we all know, older Americans, like everyone else, need health care reform.

“So many of you have shared your stories with AARP and asked that we send them to Congress and to the White House to make sure Washington understands how important health care reform is-to you, to all Americans.

“Today, you have the chance to make your voice heard-the chance to talk about the challenges you are facing, whether it’s falling into the doughnut hole or being denied coverage because you have a pre-existing condition. Your stories are why AARP has made health care reform a top priority.

“Thankfully, Congress is moving forward with legislation that will address many of the concerns of older Americans. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives introduced a health care reform bill, and the Senate is working hard to get a bill out before the August recess.

“Congress is moving forward because they know what we know: our current health care system is not sustainable-not just for individuals, but also for employers and government.

“At AARP, we believe all Americans should have affordable health care choices. But our current system costs too much, wastes too much, makes too many mistakes and gives us back too little value for our money.

“This has to change. For too many people, lack of affordable, quality health care is closing the door on your American Dream-forcing us, forcing you, forcing them to choose between their health and other necessities. We hear this from our members every day, and you will hear some of those personal stories from people here today.

“Affordable health care is critical for financial and retirement security. One of the main reasons people go bankrupt is because they can’t pay their medical bills.

“For families and workers, the loss of jobs has been compounded by pay cuts and reduced insurance coverage. Among the most vulnerable are people 50-64 who lack employer-sponsored insurance. For too many of them, the individual insurance market is often unavailable at any price due to their exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

“As many of you know first hand, people on Medicare face extremely heavy burdens. They spend, on average, six times more of their income on health care than those with coverage through employers. We need health care reform in order to hold down costs and to keep Medicare strong now and strong for future generations.

“I joined President Obama and Congressional leaders when we announced an agreement to cut Medicare’s Part D coverage gap-the doughnut hole-in half. This is an important start. But we must do more to improve Medicare, such as:

— Further close the Part D “doughnut hole” coverage gap and reduce the costs of prescription drugs;
— Protect patients’ access to their doctors;
— Crack down on waste, fraud and abuse that’s driving up the cost of health care and causing medical errors and poor care
— Prevent dangerous, costly and avoidable re-hospitalizations; and
— Improve quality through better care management that coordinates chronic, acute, and long-term care services, and ensures that patients have access to the full range of support they need.

“For people not yet eligible for Medicare, there are a number of steps we must take to make health care more affordable, we must:

— Prevent insurance companies from pricing policies based on pre-existing conditions or age;
— Limit people’s premiums and out-of-pocket costs;
— Provide people with stable coverage that can not be taken away if they lose a job or experience life’s other ups and downs; and finally,
— Lower drug prices.

“These steps will improve health care for everyone. AARP is working hard-with the Administration-including Secretary Sebelius and Nancy-Ann DeParle. And we’re working with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle-to achieve meaningful health care reform that improves quality, improves the way care is delivered, and makes it more affordable.

“We all have a stake in health care reform. And right now, Congress is making important decisions.

“I urge you to be informed.I urge you to be involved, and.I urge you to be engaged in this issue. You can make a difference. Together, we can make sure that every American has access to affordable, quality health care for generations to come.”

For details on AARP’s health reform priorities, visit here.


Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/158112.php

Main News Category: Seniors / Aging

Also Appears In: Health Insurance / Medical Insurance,

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