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House Health Reform Plan Will Benefit Millions of Illinoisans

AARP Urges U.S. Senate to Support and Pass Landmark Health Care Reform Legislation

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. House of Representatives' historic vote on health care reform was a decisive step to fix our broken health care system - but for millions of Americans struggling with soaring health care costs the Senate must take the next step, and pass the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) and the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act (H.R. 3961). Over 3 million Illinoisans stand to particularly benefit from key provisions in the bill.

"AARP is dedicated to ensuring the passage of a comprehensive health care reform plan," said Merri Dee, State President for AARP Illinois. "Older Illinoisans are struggling every day with skyrocketing premiums and prescription drug costs, and AARP can say with confidence that the Affordable Health Care for America Act will bring relief for many of them."

Nearly 1.6 million Illinoisans depend on Medicare for stable, affordable health care. The House plan will protect Medicare benefits for these individuals, while also improving Medicare drug coverage and access to preventative services.

In 2007, 32% of Medicare beneficiaries in Illinois fell into the Medicare Part D coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole." The House bill will reduce brand name drug costs by 50% for individuals in the "doughnut hole" and will take immediate steps to eliminate the "doughnut hole" entirely by 2019. This could add up to a savings of $2,000 next year for Illinoisans facing high drug costs.

The House plan will also provide relief for 273,000 uninsured Illinoisans ages 50-64, and another 207,000 Illinoisans in the same age group who depend on the individual market for insurance coverage, by preventing insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, or charging exorbitant premiums based on age.

In addition, as many as 1,022,000 Illinoisans in this age group may be eligible for subsidies that will make premiums more affordable.

"The time for health care reform is now," added Dee. "Illinoisans and all Americans have waited too long for a solution to our nation's health care crisis."


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