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AARP Position

See the Open Letter to AARP for a point-by-point
set of facts as a response to the bolded text below.

The following position of AARP was obtained as part of e-mail exchange with the AARP support staff on April 29-30, 2008.

—- The content of the body of the original message follows: —-

Thank you for contacting AARP regarding H. R. 676 - the United States National Health Insurance Act (or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act). It is my pleasure to provide you some information regarding this legislation and to clarify why we are unable to support it.

AARP strongly believes comprehensive healthcare reform that guarantees coverage, improves quality, and lowers costs should be an urgent priority. However, we do not support H.R. 676 for the following reasons.

First, H.R. 676 does not address the problem of increasing healthcare costs. Rather, it allows costs to continue to grow. By 2016, projections show total health spending almost doubling to $4.1 trillion and consuming one-fifth of the nation’s gross domestic product. Efforts to control costs include comparative effectiveness research, a generic pathway for biologic drugs, and increased attention to prevention and care coordination, none of which are included in H.R. 676.

Additionally, H. R. 676 essentially eliminates Medicare, Medicaid, and the SCHIP programs that have served the American public well for many years. These programs have very finely- tuned financing arrangements and have adapted their coverage to meet the needs of many Americans. “Reinventing the wheel” with a new single-payer program will not eliminate the problems Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP currently face, such as the spiraling costs of prescription medications, and technological advances that are often not comprehensively tested and proven safe and effective before marketing.

Moreover, H. R. 676 does not promote shared responsibility for healthcare coverage among employers, employees and the government - a basic principle of AARP policy. The bill would relieve employers and individuals of their obligation to contribute toward health care coverage. Therefore, even with the trust fund contained in the bill and other sources of funding, the single-payer system cannot remain solvent. Taxes will need to be increased. This means that the bill simply shifts the burden of the rising costs of health care onto the taxpayer alone, with no motivation built in its structure for cost-containment.

We do, however, support comprehensive healthcare reform. We will continue to monitor H.R. 676 and other legislation regarding the crucial issue of adequate health care for all. We believe quality health care and lifetime financial security are the most pressing domestic issues facing our nation. The time for action is now. Therefore, it is vital that Congress deliver healthcare legislation with the strength to elicit bipartisan support and end the gridlock that continues to obstruct positive change in our country.

I want to share with you that we have launched a national campaign called Divided We Fail, designed to amplify the voices of millions of Americans who share in our belief that health care and financial security need to be addressed by our elected officials. We are undertaking this movement to ensure that these issues are front-and-center in every 2008 race - especially for the presidential candidates.

We are building an army of people and intend to create “Millions of Voices for Change.” We will be collecting your personal stories, concerns and ideas at www.dividedwefail.org and we intend to use these stories to let candidates and elected officials know, the time for action is now. It is critically important for each of us to stand up, speak out and demand action. To get involved or share your story, visit www.dividedwefail.org and sign up to be a Divided We Fail Voter. Or you may request a Divided We Fail Personal Stories Mailer (stock number MCD3449) by calling us toll-free at 1-888-OUR-AARP.

Health and financial security are the foundations of the American dream. If we stand together and raise our voices, we can create a society where we will make life better for all generations. Divided we fail, together we can do anything.

Thank you again for getting in touch with us. It is vital that we maintain open dialogue with our members, so we do appreciate hearing from you. If there is anything we can discuss with you in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


The closing section of the correspondence is not included, above. Bolding was added.

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