Ohio Retirees Praise Historic Health Reform Vote

March 22, 2010

For Immediate Release Contact: Norman Wernet 614) 271- 4975
Date: 03/21/2010 nwernet@retiredamericans.org

Ohio Retirees Praise Historic Health Reform Vote

Will Help Seniors Afford to See a Doctor, Fill a Prescription

David Friesner, President of the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, issued the following statement in response to the health care vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“This historic vote is a bold step toward helping retirees in Ohio and across the country enjoy longer, healthier lives. It will help seniors better afford to see a doctor and get a prescription filled.

“This vote sets the stage to move on to the real business of changing the health delivery system and Ohio’s Campaign for Better Care for older adults and the initiatives moving from the governor’s council on quality and coverage.

“Passage of Health Reform will help pre-Medicare retirees with pre-existing conditions like Keith Bailey of Dayton, George Korocedes of Canton, Dave Bilski of Perrysburg, and Bruce Bostick of Columbus who scramble to keep health insurance coverage after their companies went bankrupt.

“Jean Hupp from Newark will begin to see the Medicare “donut hole” close that she falls in each October and struggles to pay for her medications.

“This landmark act will help current and future retirees in several specific ways:

• Closing the Medicare “doughnut hole” coverage gap so seniors will no longer have to cut dangerous corners on their medications;
• Eliminating co-pays for preventive screenings to help older Americans more quickly and affordably identify and treat diseases such as cancer and diabetes;
• Cutting wasteful spending to extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund so seniors can better afford premiums which have doubled over the past eight years;
• Reducing costly health problems by assisting pre-Medicare retirees with insurance costs and banning discrimination based on pre-existing conditions; and
• Promoting patient centered primary and coordinated specialist care for persons with chronic illnesses, in line with the need to produce better care and lower health costs.

“This was not an easy vote for some House members. Retirees owe a debt of gratitude to Representatives Kaptur, Sutton, Fudge, Kilroy, Driehaus, Wilson, Kucinich, Boccieri, and Ryan who displayed political courage by standing up to an insurance industry willing to pay any price to protect its record profits.

“Restructuring Medicare “advantage”, for instance, is a fiscally responsible way to correct the unfunded spending the 2003 Congress enacted in the middle of the night. Passing reform stops the bleeding of Medicare that infused profits to insurance companies.

“Our work is not done. Today’s milestone is not the final step in the legislative process, and I urge Congress to complete its work on health reform as quickly as possible. Ohio retirees are struggling to get by and cannot afford to wait any longer.

“On behalf of the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, I want to thank Representatives Kaptur, Sutton, Fudge, Kilroy, Driehaus, Wilson, Kucinich, Boccieri, and Ryan for bringing us to this historic moment in health care reform.”