AARP should immediately withdraw its endorsement of the Pelosi healthcare bill, following the latest federal report which found it would gut Medicare benefits for seniors, according to House Republican Conference Secretary John Carter.
Carter today joined other House leaders in writing AARP head Barry Rand, asking Rand to reverse the organization's support for the recently-passed House bill, HR 3962.
The Obama Administration Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported over the weekend that by 2014 the bill would eliminate the Medicare Advantage plan for two-thirds of seniors, cut over half a trillion dollars in Medicare funding, reduce the number of physicians and hospitals available to Medicare recipients, and raise out-of-pocket healthcare costs for seniors.
"This bill takes healthcare benefits away from those who have paid into the system all their lives, and hands them over to those who haven't including even illegal aliens," says Carter. "That should be unacceptable to an organization like AARP that claims to advocate for Americans seniors. They should be fighting to preserve senior benefits, and instead they have endorsed this giveaway of seniors' healthcare benefits just when they need them most."
Carter says he will work to defeat any final bill that includes the anti-senior provisions, and if House Democrats manage to pass a bill over seniors' objections, he will introduce legislation next session to repeal the measure.
Text of Letter:
A. Barry Rand
Chief Executive Officer
601 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20049
Dear Mr. Rand:
More than 35 million Americans pay dues to AARP each year based on the belief that your organization is fighting for their best interests in Washington. Over the weekend, the Obama Administration's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a report detailing the financial impact of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) health care legislation (H.R. 3962), which passed the House on November 7, two days after being endorsed by your organization.
This Obama Administration report clearly shows that Speaker Pelosi's legislation raises health care costs, unfairly and unnecessarily imposes massive Medicare cuts, and jeopardizes seniors' access to quality, affordable care. In light of these new findings, we strongly urge you to reconsider your endorsement of H.R. 3962.
Specifically, the following excerpts from the Obama Administration report may be of interest to AARP members and their families:
"Jeopardizing" Seniors' Access to Care, Massive Medicare Advantage Cuts:
Speaker Pelosi's health care legislation would cut Medicare by more than one-half trillion dollars ($571 billion), resulting in doctors and other health providers finding "might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries)." [Page 8]
"We estimate that in 2014, when the MA [Medicare Advantage] provisions would be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans would decrease by about 64 percent (from its projected level of 13.2 million under current law to 4.7 million under the proposal)." [Page 9]
Higher Costs, "Price Increases:"
"The additional demand for health services could be difficult to meet initially with existing health provider resources and could lead to price increases, cost-shifting, and/or changes in providers' willingness to treat patients with low-reimbursement health coverage." [Page 16]
"We estimate that for calendar years 2010 through 2019 [national health expenditures] would increase by $289 billion." [Page 12]
Given the severity of these Obama Administration findings, it is likely that AARP's dues-paying members would benefit from a re-evaluation of your organization's endorsement of Speaker Pelosi's health care legislation to take the new information into account. If AARP determines it can still support H.R. 3962 "with confidence" after such a review, our hope would be that your organization would provide its members with a detailed explanation of why it has chosen to renew its endorsement. Regardless, we hope AARP will take steps to ensure its members are aware of all the facts about Speaker Pelosi's costly health care legislation.
After listening to our constituents, it is clear that America's seniors want common-sense reform that makes health care more affordable and accessible without cutting benefits or reducing their choices. That is why House Republicans proposed an alternative reform plan (H.R. 4038) that would accomplish these goals without cutting seniors' benefits.
We eagerly await the results of your organization's re-evaluation of H.R. 3962 and appreciate your immediate attention to this matter.