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For Immediate Release

Thursday, February 10, 2011

“The Affordable Care Act Helps Seniors Stay Healthy”

Statement of AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee on the value of the Affordable Care Act for older Americans

Washington, DC — 

“Today’s hearing in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on the Affordable Care Act and Medicare provides a real opportunity to highlight the importance of this historic bill for seniors across America. The Affordable Care Act provides real relief for retirees. The law will phase out the infamous Part D donut hole, which has caused so much fear and uncertainty among Medicare beneficiaries who use prescription drugs. In addition, the law will eliminate co-pays for preventive services and introduce a new annual wellness visit. These new benefits will not only keep seniors healthy and save lives, but can potentially save Medicare dollars over time.

“Changes in the care delivery system will also be beneficial, particularly the emphasis the law places on improving coordination of care. We also applaud the law’s emphasis on stopping the fraud and abuse that have plagued the Medicare program for years.

“There are numerous features of the Affordable Care Act that will extend health care coverage to more Americans and help us become a healthier nation overall. These include provisions that extend dependent coverage to adult children up to age 26; eliminate lifetime coverage limits; provide tax incentives for small businesses to cover more workers; end coverage denial due to pre-existing conditions; and help workers pay for long term care services through the CLASS program.

“AFSCME strongly opposes efforts to repeal or deny full funding for implementation of the health care law. If we want to ensure that all Americans, young and old, can rely on good health care in the future, the law must be upheld. If it is not, more and more Americans will lack the coverage they need with each passing year. Certainly, we don’t want to see the day when having health insurance is a luxury only for the rich – like driving a Rolls Royce or owning a house in Malibu.”