SEATTLE, Wash. - All eyes will be on the Senate Finance Committee next
week, which is expected to act on health reform. And advocates for
Washington seniors credit President Obama with playing a key role as
'myth-buster-in-chief' in his joint session to Congress Wednesday
Washington advocacy director Ingrid McDonald says Obama
was right to challenge myths about so-called death panels, because she
says they are simply not mentioned in any version of health reform. She
says the president's decision to set the record straight on Medicare is
of vital importance to seniors.
"There are myths that health reform will cut or repeal Medicare, and
the president said it clearly and plainly that there's nothing in these
proposals that would cut regular Medicare benefits or increase
cost-sharing for Medicare beneficiaries."
Washington Republicans credit Obama with giving a strong speech, but
they argue he was short on the details, particularly how much the plan
will cost. McDonald says the president made it clear that his plan will
not add one dime to the federal deficit.
The Medicare prescription coverage "donut hole," is another issue AARP
is watching. It's a gap in coverage that can cost people thousands of
dollars. McDonald says Obama made it clear that all versions of the
health reform plan being debated deal with that problem.
"The House bill would close the donut hole over time, and the Senate is
talking about reducing the cost of brand name drugs while people are in
the donut hole by 50 percent. Both would be a huge step forward."
overnight survey of Americans over 45 finds 77
percent of Independents had concerns about health care reform going
into Wednesday night's speech, but that 72 percent felt their concerns
were addressed by the president's speech.
The survey is at www.aarp.org/research/surveys/care/health/hcreform/articles/pres_speech.html