DEAR JENNIE A MESSAGE TO YOU FROM THE AARP PRESIDENT
Q: Can you assure me that health care reform will not allow government to “pull the plug” on seriously ill patients?
A: Yes, I can. The simple truth is that
every health care reform plan Congress
is debating—and any plan AARP would
support—ensures that you and your
doctor are the only ones who make
Unfortunately, some special interest groups are using myths and other
scare tactics to try to block health care
reform. The most disgraceful of these
fables is that government will somehow acquire the power to set up “death
panels” that could order seriously ill patients to be euthanized. In
fact, this goes well beyond
a myth: it’s an outright lie.
The falsehood arose
from a House bill provision
that would allow Medicare to pay doctors for
voluntary counseling sessions with patients. This
counseling would include
getting information about
living wills, naming a friend or relative
you trust as your health care proxy, and
learning about the benefits offered by
There’s an urgent need for voluntary
end-of-life counseling that is both
thoughtful and compassionate. Many
terminally ill patients and their families
need supportive, accurate information. For example, most patients know
frighteningly little about managing pain
through competent palliative care. The
result is often unnecessary suffering for
patients and their loved ones.
AARP research shows most people
want to die pain-free, in their own
home, surrounded by family. They want
to be cared for by a good physician and
other caregivers who know them well
and listen to their concerns and wishes.
Patients nearing the end of life want
to preserve their personal dignity and
receive the treatment they request.
I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
Other outrageous myths being
spread by those who want to obstruct
health care reform: that reform would
ration your care, hurt Medicare, or result
in a government takeover. Every one
of these statements is false.
AARP pledges to help you cut
through the noise and learn what
health care reform really means for
you and your family.
Whenever we see special
interests using scare
tactics, we’ll make sure
you’ve got the facts you
need to make informed
decisions. Health care
reform shouldn’t be
about politics. It’s about
lives—yours, mine, and
those of our loved ones.
AARP is fighting to ensure that
health care reform improves Medicare
by closing the Medicare Part D “dough-
nut hole” and by eliminating fraud and
wasteful spending so that Medicare is
accessible and affordable now as well
as for our children and grandchildren.
We are fighting to end discrimination by preventing insurance companies from denying you coverage
HAVE A QUESTION
Send it to Dear Jennie,
AARP, 601 E St. NW,
Washington, DC 20049, or
.org. And check out
Jennie’s blog at
because of a preexisting condition,
or forcing Americans 50 through 64
to pay unaffordable premiums.
And we are fighting to ensure that all
Americans have the security of knowing that they can find affordable, quality health insurance even if they change
or lose jobs.
Above all, we’re fighting for health
care reform legislation that guarantees you a choice of dependable,
affordable health insurance—along
with a doctor you can count on who
will work with you to make the best
possible treatment choices for you
and your family.
—Jennie Chin Hansen, President
PRESIDENT Jennie Chin Hansen
PRESIDENT-ELECT W. Lee Hammond
BOARD CHAIR Bonnie M. Cramer
BOARD VICE-CHAIR F. John Zarlengo
SECRETARY/ TREASURER Robert Romasco
CLASS OF 2010 Yash Aggarwal, Cora L.
Christian, Bonnie M. Cramer, Joanne
Handy, Richard Johnson, N. Joyce
Payne, Thomas “Byron” Thames
CLASS OF 2012 Leobardo Estrada,
William J. Hall, Mara Mayor, Maeona
Mendelson, Robert Romasco, George
Rowan, F. John Zarlengo
CLASS OF 2014 Gail E. Aldrich, Allen
Douma, A. James Forbes Jr., Hubert H.
Humphrey III, Jacob Lozada, J. David
Nelson, Charles E. Reed