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AARP NY Key Vote News Alert: AARP Dismayed by Senate Vote to Block Medicare Improvement Bill
Date:6/12/2008

Bipartisan Package Would Have Improved Benefits for Prevention, Mental Health and Low-Income Programs, Boosted Quality through National E-Prescribing

ALBANY, N.Y., June 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today a minority of the U.S. Senate blocked critical legislation to protect and improve Medicare for the 44 million Americans who depend on it. The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, which would have improved Medicare's prevention, mental health, and low-income programs and instituted a national program for electronic prescribing, was blocked by a group of Senators during a procedural vote.

NEW YORK VOTED YES TO MOVE MEDICARE VOTED TO BLOCK MEDICARE

BILL TO DEBATE AND VOTE IMPROVEMENT BILL

Schumer, Charles X

Clinton, Hillary*

*Did not vote

** How a legislator votes on issues is only one factor in evaluating his or her legislative performance, which should also include such things as constituency services and committee work.

"While we are disappointed by today's outcome, we applaud Senator Schumer for voting to improve Medicare and bring this bill to the floor for an up-or-down vote," said Lois Aronstein, AARP NY State Director. "This bipartisan legislation would have helped more Americans afford their health care bills while bringing our doctors' offices and pharmacies into the 21st century with e-prescribing. We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Schumer and his colleagues to pass a bill this month to improve Medicare and keep premiums fair for the 44 million Americans who rely on the program."

Aronstein added: "We are disappointed that other Senators voted to block this Medicare improvement bill from open debate and an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. This bill would begin to bring down health care costs for millions of Americans by boosting Medicare's prevention, mental health, and low-income programs and promoting e-prescribing -- one way to reduce harmful and costly medical errors."

AARP has been advocating for several months to ensure that people in Medicare do not face an unfair increase in their premiums when Congress addresses physician payment cuts. AARP has also been advocating for improvements to Medicare, particularly the low-income programs, including raising asset limits, simplifying the application process and improving collaboration between Medicare and the Social Security Administration to screen people who may be eligible for low-income help and not know it. The bill brought up for a cloture vote today included all of these changes.

The AARP initiative, titled "Keep Medicare Fair," to date has generated more than a half million phone calls, e-mails and petitions sent to Senate offices. As part of this effort, an AARP survey released May 19 found that of adults 50-plus, 81 percent oppose additional increases to Medicare premiums and 66 percent are less likely to vote for a Member of Congress who supports those increases.

AARP notified the 110th Congress that it was tracking roll call votes on key legislation important to its 39 million members and reporting the outcomes of these votes back to its members. "We believe people make the right choices when they understand the issues and position taken by their elected officials. AARP intends to ensure that its members get that information," Aronstein concluded.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 33 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's 39 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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SOURCE AARP New York State
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