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Health care reform bill strengthens Medicare

With the passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962) by the House of Representatives ("House OKs historic health bill," Nov. 8), we are one step closer to a stronger Medicare for seniors and future generations, as well as stable, affordable health care options for all Americans.

AARP thanks Reps. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Donna Edwards, Elijah Cummings, Steny Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen for their votes in favor of better health care for every Marylander.

The House plan protects and strengthens Medicare; reduces out-of-pocket prescription drug costs by closing the dreaded Part D "doughnut hole" and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices; and covers some preventive care free of charge.

It stops insurance companies from denying affordable coverage because of age or health and limits how much insurance companies can make people pay out of pocket. For those who have no insurance or cannot afford it, the House plan offers affordable health insurance options. The benefits this plan offers to seniors and people with disabilities will make it easier for them to live in their own homes and communities.

While AARP is pleased to see this important step forward, we know the fight is not over. We will continue to work with our representatives in both the House and Senate to ensure any final health care reform bill meets the needs of older and all Americans.

Jennie Z. Rothschild, BaltimoreThe writer is AARP's volunteer state president for Maryland.

Vote out anyone who supports Obamacare

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's liberal health care bill, passed Saturday by the Democrats, can be considered one of the greatest assaults on our freedoms and liberties in our lifetime.

This faulty legislation puts the government in charge of our health care. With the 220-215 vote, the Democrats have taken away our freedom of choice, forcing a 2,000-page piece of terrible legislation to the tune of $1.3 trillion in a government takeover of our health care. This was not bipartisan, as only one lone Republican voted for this faulty bill.

It will behoove the voters to remember well the names of those Democrats who voted yes in the 2010 elections and send them home packing for trying to force socialism on the American public. We the voters will not forget, and you can bank on that.

Al Eisner, Silver Spring

Small business owner: I'm glad health reform passed

I am a small business owner in Baltimore. My husband and I are partners and run Risky BBQ, a small creative shop; we write advertising.

I, for one, am thankful that my Congressman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, voted for the House health reform bill H.R. 3962 this weekend.

Rising health care costs have been tough on my business' bottom line, and in this tight economy they can keep us from spreading our business dollars around and hiring freelance design and production talent in the Baltimore area.

My husband is type-A diabetic, and we pay over $1,000 each month for premiums and medication. The bill's passage this weekend means that help could soon be on the way for small businesses like mine, which will have access to better coverage options through the new health insurance exchanges and tax credits to help us afford it.

This is good for my husband's health and for the economy.

Jane Brettschneider, Baltimore

Abortion is not the same as gall bladder surgery

The Sun's argument regarding the amendment banning the funding of abortions from government-backed healthcare is fatally flawed ('The anti-choice," Nov. 10). The comparison between an abortion and a gall bladder or kidney stone procedure assumes that a fetus is an infected organ or an abnormal collection of calcium. Rather, a fetus is the first stage in human life.

Regardless of one's religious views, it is an undeniable fact that the heart starts beating around 22 days after conception and stops beating when the body dies. The vast majority of the time an abortion is not a medically-necessary procedure like gallbladder surgery. The comparisons among the procedures are misleading.

Peter Arrabal, Ellicott City

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