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AARP: Health Care and Pension Reform Critical to Economic Recovery
Date:12/4/2008

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP CEO Bill Novelli today released the following statement in reaction to the latest Congressional efforts to help failing industries.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070209/NYF043LOGO)

"We are in dire economic times that will only get worse if we allow America's biggest automakers to fail. The immediate choice is between letting these corporations go under -- taking with them the men and women who built those companies as well as many small suppliers who depend on them for business -- or using taxpayer funds to help them survive and hopefully rebuild. This choice must be made, but it does not address critical underlying issues that affect all businesses, and in fact, all Americans.

"America needs a strong economy, affordable, quality health care, a sound pension system, and increased jobs. Congress can determine whether the plans submitted by the automakers create this path, but any rescue package may wind up being meaningless if we don't address the greater issues.

"The current debate over proposed loans to the auto industry is connected to other important issues. First, health care costs continue to rise far faster than inflation. General Motors has long stated it spends more on health care than it does on steel. These soaring costs must be brought under control or health care for workers and retirees will continue to be at risk, as will the global competitiveness of the companies in all industries that continue to provide health coverage. While Congress should consider immediate options such as early buy-in for Medicare and subsidizing COBRA, long-term success will only come from slowing the skyrocketing costs of health care.

"Second, these troubled companies highlight the need to r
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SOURCE AARP
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