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, Baltimore

The writer is AARP's volunteer state president for Maryland.

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