AARP CEO A. Barry Rand sent a letter to Members of Congress today in advance of a scheduled vote on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  In his letter, Rand said, “While we respect that there are those who do not support the ACA, AARP opposes repeal because the new law includes many vital provisions important to older Americans and their children.”

AARP New Jersey State President, Sy Larson said, “The law cracks down on discriminatory practices that allow insurers to charge exorbitant premiums simply based on a person’s age.  It stops insurance companies from canceling or pricing someone out of coverage if they get sick and from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition.  The law also makes insurance more affordable through tax breaks and health insurance ‘exchanges,’ caps out-of-pocket costs for individuals and families and helps Americans better plan for their long-term services needs by giving them new options for receiving more cost-effective care at home.”

Larson continued, “The new law strengthens Medicare by closing the infamous ‘doughnut hole’ in the Medicare prescription drug program over time and eliminates out-of-pocket costs for many preventive services.  In 2010 alone, 85,313 New Jerseyans received a $250 rebate to help pay for prescriptions in the drug coverage gap.  And more help is on the way.  A vote to repeal the law would undo these significant steps and that’s why we oppose efforts to repeal it.”

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Speaker Boehner/Leader Pelosi:

As the House prepares to vote this week on repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I am writing to make clear AARP’s position.  While we respect that there are those who do not support the ACA, AARP opposes repeal because the new law includes many vital provisions important to older Americans and their children.

Through outreach and conversations with AARP members and other Americans, as well as information reflected in public polling, we have learned that older Americans and their families—while still unclear on many aspects of the new law—support key provisions of the ACA.  These include: strengthening Medicare, such as by lowering drug costs for seniors in the Medicare Part D coverage gap or “doughnut hole” and adding free preventive services; improving insurance coverage, such as stopping insurance companies from canceling or pricing someone out of coverage if they get sick, denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition and cracking down on discriminatory practices that allow insurers to charge exorbitant premiums simply based on a person’s age; making insurance more affordable, such as by providing tax breaks and establishing “exchanges” to provide greater choice and transparency for individuals and small businesses, as well as capping out-of-pocket costs for individuals and families and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until they are 26 years old; and helping Americans better plan for their long-term services needs, including by giving them new options for receiving more cost-effective care at home.

AARP appreciates that many have strongly held views on the new law.  However, repeal of the ACA would result in the loss of these important protections for older Americans.  As health care will continue to present many challenges, we look forward to working constructively with the 112th Congress to strengthen Medicare and improve our entire health care system.

Sincerely,

 

Addison Barry Rand