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President Takes Illinois Woman's Tough Health Care Questions at AARP Town Hall

Joliet Resident Hits Upon Many People's Health Care Reform Concerns

CHICAGO, July 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Carolyn Engers didn't expect her call to go through - but she had some serious questions about health care reform. Today, the Joliet resident got answers directly from President Obama. Engers joined tens of thousands of AARP members from across the nation for special Town Hall with the President and AARP leaders on the issue of health care reform.

Engers, asking questions on behalf of her Lockport AARP Chapter, expressed concern that proposed changes to Medicare would result in the "dictation" or "rationing" of what services will be covered for older people. The President answered her, stating that "My interest is not in getting between you and your doctor. . .We don't want to ration by dictating to somebody. What we do want to be able to do is to provide information to that senior and to her doctor about this is the thing that is going to be most helpful to you in dealing with your condition."

The President went on to address concerns over taking money out of Medicare, "The only things that we're talking about have nothing to do with benefits. It has to do with things like subsidizing insurance companies or, for example, right now we reimburse hospitals for the amount of time that you're there without checking to see if they're doing a good job in the first place."

AARP members joined the town hall by phone, via the web, on CNN, and from a live studio audience in Washington, D.C. With Mike Cuthbert of AARP's Prime Time Radio moderating, AARP CEO, Barry Rand and National President, Jennie Chin Hansen helped kick off the hour long event and led the discussion. The event was the tenth in a series of AARP town hall meetings, which have reached more than 450,000 AARP members across the nation in the last week.

AARP, which has not endorsed any health care reform package, is pressing for several key measures such as closing the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole," lowering drug costs by approving generic versions of expensive biologic prescriptions, and preventing costly hospital readmissions to reduce wasteful spending.

For more details on AARP's health reform priorities, visit

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