27 August 2009

Health Reform Inaction Would Cost Seniors Dearly!

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For Immediate Release: Contact: David Blank (202)637-5275
August 27,2009 dblank@retiredamericans.org

A new Report Shows Seniors to Benefit from Health Care Reform
Retiree Leader Calls for End to “Scare Tactics”

The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to a new report, America’s Seniors and Health Insurance Reform: Protecting Coverage and Strengthening Medicare, issued today by the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Today’s report, available at http://healthreform.gov/reports/seniors/index.html shines a bright light on why retirees have a lot to gain from health reform. Moreover, it shows the wholly unacceptable medical and financial consequences of inaction. “According to the study, if no action is taken, Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs will soon eat up more than one-third of a retiree’s Social Security benefits.

A typical older couple would need to save $300,000 for medical bills not covered by Medicare.

“I hope that deeply disturbing findings such as these will move the health care debate away from divisive, insurance industry-backed scare tactics and toward swift passage of a health care bill that will help older Americans. “Health reform is an opportunity to close the Medicare Part D ‘doughnut hole,’ lower prescription drug costs, help early retirees afford health care coverage, and assist middle-class families with the costs of long-term care.

A strong public plan option will hold insurance companies accountable and keep their premiums and business practices in check. “Medicare is a great American success story - it has reduced senior poverty by two-thirds.

Today’s report shows how health reform can both expand Medicare’s benefits for seniors, and also strengthen Medicare’s finances by eliminating wasteful taxpayer subsidies to the big insurance companies. “I urge Congress to act swiftly to pass a health care reform bill that helps Americans of all ages. The dire consequences of inaction give us no other choice.”

# # #The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national organization that advocates for the rights and well being of over 3.5 million retirees andtheir families.

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