15 June 2009

Alliance for Retired Americans - 2009 Legislative Conference - Day 1

Washington D.C. - Monday 6/15/09

Alliance for Retired Americans Legislative Conference - Day 1

As I anticipated, health care tops the list of Conference Agenda items. Costs continue to rise outpacing the rate of general inflation with older Americans (50 and older) increasingly using more of their income for out of pocket health care costs. This scenario unfolds as millions of baby-boomers are trying to retire and are facing an urgent need for health care, long-term care, economic security and affordable housing.

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how Americans pay for and receive their health care and bring about lasting, positive change. In so many ways this is what the 2008 elections were about and why so many of us worked long, hard hours and sacrificed time with our families.

Extremely powerful and reactionary forces, including the AMA and entire Republican establishment, are lining up to fight and spread disinformation to prevent any meaningful change.

This past weekend the battle intensified with key administration officials appearing on network and cable interview shows in support of reform that would include a "public plan" somewhat along the lines of the highly effective Medicare and Medicaid programs. Of course, the Republicans and insurance/health industry oligarchs have attacked any sort of "public plan" as too costly and government imposed "socialized medicine". It is worth mentioning, at this point, that these are the same bozos who conspired to give us the current economic collapse, the wrong-headed and abortive attempt to privatize Social Security, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and torture. Liars lie, that is what they do!

Ed Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, speaking in support of the "public plan" said recently, "Private insurers have proved to be inadequate in their coverage. More often than not, someone who in desperate need need of care will be turned away because of pre-existing conditions".

Today we'll breakout into work sessions to prepare for lobbying visits to our various congressional representatives and senators on Wednesday. This evening, we'll hear from Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U. S. Dept of Health and Human Services and Valerie Harper, Actress/Activist.

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