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AARP Thanks Senate for Passing Health Care Reform

Saturday, December 26, 2009 General News J E 4
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Association looks forward to improving legislation in conference committee

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP CEO A. Barry Rand released this statement after this morning's passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 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.

"This morning the Senate 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.

"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 have committed that a final bill will close the gap entirely by 2019, in keeping with the President's pledge. In addition, the Senate bill adds important new Medicare benefits, like 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. 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."

Over 100,000 Marylanders age 50-64 are uninsured; many more are under-insured due to the high cost of coverage for this age group. Nearly one in six Maryland residents has Medicare and of those beneficiaries age 65 and older, more than one-quarter (about 54,000 people) fell into the "doughnut hole," or had to pay the full cost of their prescriptions for a portion of the year.

For more information on AARP's health care reform effort, please visit AARP.org.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.5 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's nearly 40 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

SOURCE AARP Maryland
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