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AARP Statement on Governor Paterson's State of the State Address

NEW YORK, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Lois Aronstein, AARP NY State Director:

Governor Paterson's 2009 State of the State address put forth recommendations on a number of issues that are essential to the health care and financial security of New Yorkers of all ages.

AARP commends the Governor for proposing to expand the Family Health Plus Program to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, making more than 400,000 additional New Yorkers eligible for coverage. A fundamental goal of AARP is to ensure increased access to affordable health care and prescription drug coverage; Governor Paterson's proposal would be a significant step toward achieving this goal for New Yorkers.

However, AARP urges the Governor to reconsider some of his proposed changes to the EPIC program that would no longer cover the cost of drugs for which no payment or reimbursement is made by Medicare Part D. We also strongly recommend that the Governor re-evaluate his proposed changes to Assisted Living programs that would create a two-tiered system - one for the poor and one for everybody else - and compromise the ability of older people to age in place.

Additionally, AARP applauds Governor Paterson for his commitment to improving prescription drug affordability by including a ban on pharmaceutical gifts to doctors in his budget proposal. Doctors are constantly being solicited, with gift and honoraria from the drug industry, to prescribe high-cost, brand name drugs when equally effective, less expensive prescription drugs may be available.

AARP is committed to working with Governor Paterson and the Legislature to help ensure that New York is a state where everyone can live, work, and age with independence and dignity.

SOURCE AARP New York State
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