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AARP Releases Six Major Health Reform Goals

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 By David Law, Public News Service - SD, Contact
May 6, 2009

Sioux Falls, SD – The nation's largest senior organization is out with six specific goals it hopes will be part of a new health care reform package, and AARP South Dakota president Pat Gross says the timing couldn't be more urgent. The priorities include guaranteeing access to affordable coverage for Americans aged 50 to 64; closing the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" prescription drug coverage gap; creating a Medicare transition benefit to help people safely return to their homes after hospital stays; increasing federal funding and eligibility for home and community-based services through Medicaid so older people can stay in their homes; approving more generic drugs to cut prescription costs; and measures to improve Medicare affordability.

"In South Dakota, we know that we have nearly 12,000 uninsured people in this age group, between 50 to 64. We think that the savings and issues that ultimately come out will help, if they incorporate these priorities. We hear from a lot of people all across the state. In South Dakota we have 107,000 members; I can tell you that health care reform is their number-one priority."

Gross says that AARP is feeling good because health care is a major priority for the new administration, and that a spirit of bipartisan cooperation is beginning to take hold on the issue.

"At the end of the day, our hope is that we'll have something that will really be meaningful reform. We know that it has to probably be some kind of combination of public and private product that comes out of this, but we think it's exciting. We spent the last two years raising the issue, and we feel real good that now at least everybody has got it on their agenda, especially the Congress."

Details about the AARP health care reform campaign can be found on line at

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