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AARP Urges Idaho Senators Not to be the Grinches That Stole Health Care Reform

Dec. 24th Vote Looming, AARP Calls on Senators to Deliver More Than a Lump of Coal - Sends "Christmas List" of Idaho's Health Care Woes

BOISE, Idaho, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While Washington, D.C. couldn't seem further away to most Idaho families this holiday season, rising health care costs are an issue that's hitting much closer to home. As Idaho's health care woes grow increasingly worse, AARP is calling on Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch to vote in favor of the Senate health care reform bill expected to come up for a vote Christmas Eve, and is sending the Senators a "Christmas List" of Idaho's health care crisis.

"Senators Crapo and Risch continue to play partisan politics on this critical issue while high health care costs are hammering Idaho families, businesses and retirees," said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP in Idaho. "We're sending them a 'Christmas list' highlighting Idaho's health care problems and are urging them to pass the Senate health care reform bill; anything less is just a lump of coal in our stocking."

"Christmas List" of Idaho's worsening health care crisis:

  • Unemployment in Idaho has risen to over 9%, with nearly 69,000 unemployed - when people lose jobs they lose employer benefits, namely health care (Idaho Department of Labor).
  • 221,000 Idahoans are uninsured, 88% have jobs - for many the cost of health care is simply too high (Kaiser Family Foundation).
  • Part-time Idaho state employees are being hit with health insurance premium hikes of 10 times what they currently pay - affecting nearly 10% of the state's workforce - leaving many struggling to afford their health care.
  • 27% of Idaho's Medicare beneficiaries fell into the Part D "doughnut hole" - where they were stuck paying 100% of their Rx costs - forcing many to stop taking their medications or skip doses due to cost.
  • State retirees over 65 losing their state health insurance and being forced to get coverage under Medicare which some will not be able to afford.
  • Nearly 400,000 Idahoans spend 10% of their pre-tax income on health care; roughly 100,000 spend upwards of 25% (Families USA).
  • Family premiums for employer-sponsored health care will increase 40% in the next few years and double by 2016.

The Senate health care reform bill would: lower drug costs; help the uninsured and businesses have more affordable access to health insurance; hold insurers more accountable to consumers; protect choice of doctors; and hold down the costs of coverage. AARP has committed to making the final health care reform package even stronger by working to permanently close the Medicare Part D doughnut hole as the Senate bill is merged with the House bill. Both the Senate bill and the House bill have moved forward without support from Idaho's Congressional delegation.


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