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AARP Urges Governor to Use Budget to Improve New Yorkers' Quality of Life

AARP testifies at Executive Budget Hearings

ALBANY, N.Y., Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP recently testified at Governor Spitzer's Executive Budget Hearings held across the state to address three major issues that impact the health care and financial security of millions of New Yorkers: prescription drug marketing reform and affordability, housing foreclosures, and helping caregivers assisting family members.

"These are critical issues that help New Yorkers stay healthy, live independently, and be financially secure," said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. "Whether a New Yorker is caring for an elderly relative or a grandchild, facing foreclosure, or trying to pay for prescription drugs, Governor Spitzer needs to propose solutions to ease their burden."

AARP requested the Governor consider the following in the Executive Budget for the State Fiscal Year 2008-2009:

Prescription Marketing Reform and Affordability

-- Establish a framework for New York State to "bulk purchase" its prescription drugs to save taxpayers money and use the savings to expand EPIC for those in need;

-- Create an Rx discount card;

-- Require drug companies to disclose gifts provided to doctors encouraging them to prescribe new, high-cost drugs rather than generic or less costly drugs that are equally effective.

Since 1999, the cost of a brand name prescription drugs has risen by 49%. The average price of a brand name drug in 2006 was $111 compared to generic drugs whose average cost was $32. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 90% of the pharmaceutical industry's $21 billion marketing budget is spent on influencing physicians.

Long Term Care (LTC) and Kincare

-- Increase funding for adult day care, caregiving and kincare programs to help informal family caregivers;

-- Ensure that the services for frail elderly in nursing homes are maintained and delivered at the highest quality level when proposing to cut Medicaid.

According to Governor Spitzer's Office for Aging, 80% of all long-term care services in New York State are provided by more than two million families. The U.S. Census, in 2000 stated more than 143,000 New York State grandparents were responsible for raising grandchildren.

Housing Foreclosures

-- Establish a foreclosure remediation fund to assist individuals who are in foreclosure and losing their home but are not eligible to apply for assistance under the "Keep the Dream" program.

According to the New York State Banking Department, more than 50,000 foreclosures were reported in New York for 2006, an over 40% increase from the year before.

AARP has over 2.6 million members in New York State. 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, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, 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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