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Obama Health Care Speech to Congress “Encouraging”

September 11, 2009

ALBANY, NY - President Obama's speech to Congress Wednesday night was "encouraging" according to AARP New York, which counts some 2.6 million New Yorkers 50 and older among its membership. Legislative representative Bill Ferris applauded the President's pledge to strengthen Medicare, fill the gap in prescription drug coverage known as the "donut hole" and keep the bureaucracy from getting between people and their doctors. And, he would like to hear the volume turned down.

"To hear shouting at people and shouting at the President, we don't think it's the best way to go. People can disagree, but what we want is the Congress and the president, at the end of the day, come together and put forth solid health care reform."

Earlier this summer, AARP had been incorrectly described as endorsing the administration's reform proposal. Ferris says that wasn't the case then and isn't now.

"There are actually five or six proposals floating around. The president spoke of what he would like to see in a final proposal. We have not endorsed any proposal in Washington yet."

One thing hurting many AARP members, adds Farris, is the gap in the Medicare prescription drug coverage.

"It's really plaguing a lot of our members to have to pay out of pocket for drugs that have gone up double to triple the rate of inflation. With the president saying that he was going to fill that donut hole, we were very pleased."

Groups opposed to Obama's reform and favoring limited government and lower taxes say they heard nothing in Wednesday night's speech that would change their view.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY