19 November 2009

Senate Health Care Package Faces Saturday Hurdle

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid brought forth the senate version of a health care reform bill which is very similar to the version passed earlier by House. And, while the house vote was much closer than most progressives wished, the Senate vote in going to be even tighter as Senators posture to their base and/or adhere to rigid, well-defined party lines.

Do not expect a final vote this year! The skirmishes are behind us, the real battle in well-underway. The first open fight in that battle takes place Saturday as the Senate considers and then votes on whether or not to bring the bill to the floor. If, democrats stand as one and overcome GOP attempts to filibuster, it will mean that, at least initially, there is enough Democratic support at this point to move a final bill (based on amendments) through the Senate into conference committee.

Meanwhile, older Americans should be pleased with the progress that is being made.

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For Immediate Release Contact: David Blank (202) 637-5275
November 19, 2009 dblank@retiredamericans.org

Retirees Praise Reid Health Bill

The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“The Alliance for Retired Americans congratulates Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for putting together a strong health care reform bill. The proposed legislation would make great strides in helping Americans of all ages better afford to see a doctor or get a prescription filled.

“Our nation’s retirees need lower prescription drug prices, the ability to get life-saving preventive screenings and testings, and an end to the Medicare Trust Fund-draining subsidies to the private insurance companies who run Medicare Advantage programs.

Senator Reid’s bill offers solid progress in these important areas.

“We are pleased to see the bill include a public option. Because of Medicare, retirees know first hand how important the public option is. Medicare is a great American success story. It has helped reduce senior poverty by two-thirds, and has shown a valuable role for the federal
government in improving health care. A public option would be a refreshing alternative to the exorbitant premiums charged by the big insurance corporations who profit by denying care and discriminating against pre-existing conditions.

“As the bill moves through the Senate we will continue to oppose the taxation of health care benefits at any level. This would disproportionately harm retirees and older workers, as it may lead employers to eliminate or greatly reduce coverage for this age group. Moreover, these are individuals who sacrificed wage increases over the years in exchange for retiree health coverage.

“Grassroots activists with the Alliance for Retired Americans will continue to urge their elected officials to quickly pass a strong health reform bill. Millions of Americans need help right away. It is time for Congress to finish the job.”

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The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national organization that advocates for the rights and well being of over 4 million retirees and their families.

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