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The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in advance of President Obama’s address this evening to a joint session of Congress.

"President Obama has an exciting opportunity tonight to speak directly to millions of American retirees, a chance to clear up lingering falsehoods and explain to seniors how health reform will help them more easily see a doctor, get a prescription filled, and obtain essential preventive screenings for cancer and other diseases.

"Tonight the debate can begin anew.  It can mark the beginning of a time when Americans of all ages more clearly understand not only the strong benefits of change, but also the high cost of inaction for current and future retirees.

"This is an exciting moment where we can close the ‘doughnut hole’ coverage gap in Medicare Part D, lower prescription drug costs through common-sense price negotiation, eliminate the co-pay for preventive screenings, and help make long-term care more affordable.  We have the opportunity to create a high-quality public option as a refreshing alternative to the big insurance companies who profit by denying care and discriminating against pre-existing conditions.

"The cost of inaction would be devastating for retirees.  Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs would soon eat up more than one-third of a retiree’s Social Security benefits.  A typical older couple would need to save $300,000 for medical bills not covered by Medicare.  

"Tonight is an exciting moment for our nation.  We urge President Obama and Congress to make the most of this historic opportunity to improve the quality of life for Americans of all ages."

Originally posted to New Path to Middle Class on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 01:20 PM PDT.

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