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Divided We Fail Pushes to Keep Health Care Reform as a Top Priority for Congress and the New Administration

Divided We Fail Holds Rare Town Hall Meeting With U.S. Senator Arlen Specter on the Urgent Need to Fix Rising Health Care Costs

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP Pennsylvania, Business Roundtable, National Federation of Independent Business, and the Service Employees International Union held a town hall meeting today on the need for health reform with U.S. Senator Arlen Specter in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center. While in Philadelphia, Senator Specter spoke with constituents on the prospects for bipartisan action on America's health care problems under a new Administration and Congress.

"We have long struggled to adequately cover all Americans with health insurance, and I am working in a bipartisan fashion to reform and enhance our current market-based health care system. I find these town hall conversations to be very helpful and provide a strong basis for moving forward on this important subject," says Senator Specter.

With the recent passage of the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), it is critically important that health care reform remains on the agenda for the 111th Congress. Today's town hall participants expressed their views on how rising health costs are affecting their families, businesses, and communities. "We are facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. As wages tighten and unemployment rises, soaring medical costs are squeezing individuals, families, businesses, and the nation as a whole," says Estella Hyde, AARP Pennsylvania State President.

As the nation continues to experience economic woes, AARP remains hopeful that acts of Congress like the recent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 brings the nation a step closer to health care reform. The new legislation contains many provisions which AARP believes are paramount to promoting the foundation for meeting the critical needs of Americans such as health care. "The health of our economy depends to a great extent on our dealing with health care reform," says Hyde.

Overwhelmingly, participants from today's meeting have grown weary of partisan gridlock and agreed that there could be no real economic security without health care security. "Partisan gridlock won't do anything to end the health and economic problems our country faces. If our organizations -- business, labor and consumers -- can join forces, so can our leaders in Washington. We're just getting started and we're ready to help," says Dick Chevrefils, AARP Pennsylvania State Director.

Divided We Fail has organized nearly 1,000 events across the country to give voice to the millions of Americans who are tired of letting Washington gridlock stand in the way of affordable, quality health care. More than 360 members of the 111th Congress signed the Divided We Fail pledge or wrote a letter of support. In addition to AARP, Business Roundtable, NFIB and SEIU, more than 100 independent groups have joined our efforts.

"We stand ready to work with the President and the new Congress to bring about important legislation to provide real security to the American people," adds Chevrefils.

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 34.5 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's 40 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 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.

    CONTACT:  Angela Foreshaw-Rouse

SOURCE AARP Pennsylvania
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