A MESSAGE TO YOU FROM THE AARP PRESIDENT
A: The decision will be made by AARP’s
23-member volunteer Board of Directors. I serve on that board, and it’s a
talented and multifaceted group: we
represent a diverse blend of knowledge,
skills, and experiences, at
high levels in medicine and
health care, public policy,
business, finance, social
services, marketing, volun-teerism, and communications technology.
As I write this, we have
not yet seen the final
House and Senate health
care reform bills, let alone
the final bill both chambers
will vote on. But a few key
criteria will guide our decisions to support or oppose
the bills passed by each
branch of Congress, and
the final bill that is submitted to the President.
First, any bill we support must do no
harm. We want to protect what’s good
for you in the current system. For us,
that means protecting your traditional
Medicare benefits and holding down
your out-of-pocket costs. The bill must
have measures to pay Medicare physicians fairly so you can keep the doctor
of your choice or find one if you don’t
have one. And it must protect employer-sponsored insurance, so people who
want to keep their coverage can do so.
Second, the bill must guarantee
access to affordable health insurance
coverage for 50-to-64-year-olds by
limiting age rating—a wonky term that
means premiums can be increased simply because of one’s age—and providing
assistance to help families struggling to
buy coverage. In other words, insurance
Find everything you need to know about health care reform at aarp.org /hcr, which as the latest on the proposals, the costs, and the effects changes will have on Medicare. QUESTIONS ABOUT HEALTH CARE REFORM?
companies can no longer use age as
an excuse for making health insurance
unaffordable for older Americans.
Next, we must see significant im-
provements in Medicare and long-term
services and supports.
This includes closing the
dreaded Medicare Part D
“doughnut hole” (the
coverage gap that forces
patients to pay full price
for their medications)
and increasing access to
home- and community-
based services, so more
older Americans can
remain in their homes and
avoid costly institutions.
Any bill we support will
slow the skyrocketing
cost of health care by pro-
moting quality, efficiency,
delivery reforms through
measures such as a Medicare transition
benefit—to help people safely return
to their homes after a hospital stay and
prevent costly hospital readmissions.
Finally, we will insist on acceptable
financing for health reform. We must see
a financing system that protects indi-
viduals and their families—and is fiscally
responsible to taxpayers. Simply put,
AARP is fighting to make sure seniors
and future generations have the health
coverage they need when they retire.
We’re fighting to guarantee that you’ll
never be denied coverage because of
your health or age. We’re fighting to pre-
vent anyone from coming between you
and your doctor. And we’re fighting to
make sure your health care does not take
a back seat to insurance companies.
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
JOSHUA ROBERTS; ILLUSTRATION BY HEADCASE DESIGN