The AARP has endorsed the health care reform plan Democratic congressional leaders are advancing in the House. A vote on the bill is expected this weekend.
AARP Iowa State Director Bruce Koeppl says the group’s board of directors believes the final package addresses many of the concerns identified by AARP members.
“It’s going to improve pre-Medicare individuals — people who are 50 to 64 year olds. People that have had trouble getting access to coverage because of preexisting conditions, for example, that will be dealt with in this bill and they’ll be able to access insurance,” Koeppl says. “If you’re on Medicare, it’s going to help with the costs of prescription drugs.”
AARP lobbies on behalf of “elderly” Americans, age 50 and older. About 400,000 Iowans are AARP members. Koeppl says there may be some backlash because of AARP’s move to endorse the House Democrats’ plan.
“We expect that there’ll be people that don’t agree with us, but we think, frankly, there will be people that will agree with us and will understand what we did as they come to grips with understanding the legislation,” Koeppl says.
According to Koeppl, the Medicare payment reform which is outlined in the House package is crucial for Iowans age 65 and older who are on Medicare. The doctors, hospitals and others who provide medical care to Medicare patients will be paid based on quality — or the outcome of the treatment, a shift advocates say will benefit rural states like Iowa as the current system gives urban care-givers much higher Medicare payments.
“I think…Iowans are going to be excited about that because it will level the playing field which will help us with docs, keeping docs in Iowa,” Koeppl says.
According to Keoppl, the health care reform plan that will be considered in the U.S. House this weekend addresses many of the problems that are faced by younger AARP members. Over 50-thousand Iowans who are older than 50 but younger than 65 and not yet part of Medicare are uninsured and many others are underinsured because they can’t get or can’t afford better insurance policies.