AARP Urges Senate to Extend Critical Health and Unemployment Supports

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–March 30, 2010.  AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond issued the following statement today, urging the Senate to assist the millions of Americans without health coverage and who remain unemployed by passing legislation that would extend essential benefits. The legislation would also avert a 21-percent cut to reimbursement for physicians treating people in Medicare, which is set to take effect on April 1, 2010.

“The legislation before the Senate includes important extensions of unemployment insurance that will provide assistance to millions of American workers who are struggling to get back on the job. It also provides additional resources to 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 find a job, who are facing diminished retirement resources and who have less time to recover from these losses.

“In addition, we urge the Senate to take action to ensure that people in Medicare continue to have access to their doctor. The looming 21-percent cut in Medicare payment rates puts access to care in jeopardy as physicians may stop taking Medicare patients. While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has agreed to delay these cuts until the Senate returns from recess, the threat of these reductions also erodes physicians’ confidence in the government’s commitment to keeping Medicare strong and reliable.

“Now is not the time for millions of Americans to worry about whether they will receive an extension of critical health and financial support. We ask the Senate to act as soon as possible to help more Americans as they continue to face the challenges of an historic economic downturn.”