The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to President Obama’s address this evening to a joint session of Congress.
"President Obama made a clear and convincing case for why Americans of all ages would benefit from health care reform. Tonight the President demonstrated bold leadership in specifically laying out both the urgent need for action, but also the dire costs of inaction.
"President Obama made great progress is clearing the air of the mean-spirited myths and falsehoods which have poisoned this debate up until now. But this is a new day, one in which retirees now have a better sense of 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.
"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 stakes could not be higher for retirees. If we fail to act this year, 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.
"Grassroots activists with the Alliance for Retired Americans will continue their efforts to educate and mobilize seniors in support of President Obama’s agenda to improve the quality of life for Americans of all ages."