And we certainly won’t cut corners to try to cut costs, because we know that doesn’t work. And that’s something that we hear from doctors all across the country. For example, we know that when we discharge people from the hospital a day early without any kind of coordinated follow-up care, too often they wind up right back in the hospital a few weeks later. If we had just provided the right care in the first place, we’d save a whole lot of money and a lot of human suffering, as well.
Finally, we’ll eliminate billions in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies in the Medicare Advantage program –giveaways that boost insurance company profits but don’t make you any healthier. And we’ll work to close that doughnut hole in Medicare Part D that’s costing so many folks so much money. Drug companies, as a consequence of our reform efforts, have already agreed to provide deeply discounted drugs, which will mean thousands of dollars in savings for the millions of seniors paying full price when they can least afford it.
All of this is what health insurance reform is all about: protecting your choice of doctor; keeping your premiums fair; holding down your health care and your prescription drug costs; improving the care that you receive — and that’s what health care reform will mean to folks on Medicare.
We’ve made a lot of progress over the last few months. We’re now closer to health care reform than we ever have been before. And that’s due in no small part to the outstanding team that you have here at AARP, because you’ve been doing what you do best, which is organize and mobilize, and inform and educate people all across the country about the choices that are out there; pushing members of Congress to put aside politics and partisanship; and finding solutions to our health care challenges.
I know it’s not easy. I know there are folks who will oppose any kind of reform because they profit from the way the system is right now. They’ll run all sorts of ads that will make people scared. This is nothing that we haven’t heard before. Back when President Kennedy, and then President Johnson, were trying to pass Medicare, opponents claimed it was “socialized medicine.” They said it was too much government involvement in health care; that it would cost too much; that it would undermine health care as we know it.
But the American people and members of Congress understood better. They ultimately did the right thing. And more than four decades later, Medicare is still giving our senior citizens the care and security they need and deserve.
With the AARP standing on the side of the American people, I’m confident that we can do the right thing once again, and pass health insurance reform and ensure that Medicare stays strong for generations to come.