AARP Commends Senate Passage of Critical Health and Unemployment Support

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–March 11, 2010.  AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond issued the following statement today, commending the Senate for passing legislation that would extend critical benefits to help millions of Americans who are struggling with unemployment and a lack of health insurance. The legislation also protects access to physicians for people in Medicare by ensuring doctors will not face a 21 percent cut in reimbursement for at least seven months. However, AARP is disappointed that while a majority of Senators voted to provide relief, no single amendment was approved that would have provided $250 in economic relief for millions of older Americans, veterans and persons with disabilities.

“AARP is pleased that Americans and their families, who continue to face devastatingly high unemployment rates coupled with a loss of health coverage, will receive an extension of critical health and financial support. The legislation includes important extensions of unemployment insurance that will provide assistance to millions of American workers who are struggling to get back on the job. The Senate also extended and expanded subsidized COBRA, a federal law that helps workers who lose their jobs maintain health coverage for themselves and their families. All of these benefits are especially vital to older workers who want to work but cannot get a job, are facing diminished retirement resources and who have less time to recover from these losses.”

“In addition, the legislation includes enhanced Medicaid dollars that will help states that are serving record-breaking caseloads due to the economic crisis and are under pressure to cut vital services like those who help people stay in their own homes and out of costly nursing homes. Doctors caring for people in Medicare will also not face a devastating 21 percent cut to Medicare’s reimbursement for at least seven months. This temporary patch gives Congress time to address this critical issue which threatens to undermine access to and choice of physicians for millions of people in Medicare.

“However, AARP is deeply disappointed that the Senate was unable to find common ground to pass needed economic relief for 57 million retirees, veterans and people with disabilities whose Social Security benefits are frozen this year. We will continue to urge the Senate to reach agreement and act on $250 in economic relief for older Americans during these difficult economic times.”

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