Survey Finds Nearly 70 Percent of Illinois AARP Members Back Health Care Reform Legislation

November 16, 2009

Association Urges Senators to Support Key Provisions of the Bill as Measure Moves to their Chamber

CHICAGO, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – A new poll of Illinois AARP members released today finds strong support across party and ideological lines for elements of health care reform included in the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives. The bill, which strictly limits how much more insurance companies can charge based on age and closes the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole, was endorsed by AARP.

Among AARP members, strong majorities reported that many of the bill’s key provisions were convincing reasons to support the legislation. These include 80 percent of Illinois AARP members who believe the bill should be supported because it improves coverage for critical preventive services like cancer screenings; 77 percent who believe it should be supported because it prevents insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions; 74 percent who believe it should be supported because it protects Medicare benefits for seniors; and 68 percent who believe it should be supported because it closes the Medicare part D coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole.”

“This survey demonstrates what we’ve been hearing from our members for a long time,” said AARP Illinois State President Merri Dee. “Despite an inflammatory debate on a very personal and important issue, our members — across party and ideological lines — support health care reform that protects Medicare, lowers the price of prescription drugs, increases their access to coverage and protects their choice of doctors.”

While a partisan divide was evident when respondents were asked about the current plan in Congress, Illinois AARP members supported the legislation by more than a 2-1 margin (67 percent who “strongly” or “somewhat” support it, versus 27 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose it).

Other reform elements with high levels of support among AARP members included 79 percent who support it because it would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies; 77 percent because it would allow individuals to keep their current health insurance coverage if they are happy with it; and 67 percent because it would aggressively crack down on waste, abuse and fraud in Medicare.

“The bill recently passed by the House incorporates the reforms that our members care most about. We’ll continue the fight for these critical elements as the Senate takes up its own legislation in the coming weeks. Our members, and all older Americans, are counting on lawmakers to reform the health care system this year,” Ms. Dee added.

Starting on Tuesday, November 17, AARP will launch a new national television ad on a mix of news, lifestyle, cable and sports channels. The ad, entitled “HELP,” demonstrates that people from all walks of life are feeling stranded by the current health care system. It calls attention to the need for the kind of health care reform AARP has been fighting for: reform that will put patients first, protect Medicare, bring down drug costs and ensure that no one can be denied affordable health care because of their age or health history.

AARP surveyed its members from October 30 to November 8, 2009 about the current health care reform plan in the House of Representatives. This survey included 420 individuals from Illinois and is representative of AARP members with a margin of error of +/- 4.8%.

The AARP survey can be accessed online at: http://www.aarp.org/research/surveys/care/health/hcreform/articles/hrhcr.html.


Source: newswire

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