Controlling Health Care Costs Key To Budget Reform

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Health Care Costs

In Congressional testimony, the head of AARP told lawmakers what American families already know - that the most important fiscal problem facing our country is the skyrocketing costs of health care.

AARP CEO Bill Novelli testified at a Senate Budget Committee hearing on a proposed bipartisan fiscal reform task force that would specifically evaluate programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

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"We cannot look at Medicare and Medicaid in isolation and ignore the rising costs throughout the health care system that drive spending in these programs," said Novelli. "Raising taxes or lowering benefits will not help families already trying to make ends meet when their children get sick or as they get older. The primary focus of any task force should be health care costs.

"Regarding Social Security, strengthening it will require tough choices, and we're prepared to make them," added Novelli. "Our members want Social Security to be there for their kids and grandkids."

Novelli pledged AARP's constructive participation in any bipartisan effort that would address the full scope of the nation's fiscal problems and allow sufficient time for debate.

"Social Security and Medicare represent our government's baseline promise to its people for lifetime economic security and access to affordable health care," said Novelli. "If the task force is set up in a bipartisan fashion, with the right time frames and the right focus on health care costs, we will take its work to our members and the public and bring their concerns to you. We have the ability to do that - in the spirit of engagement and education - and we will."

Earlier this year, AARP joined the Business Roundtable and the Service Employees International Union to launch Divided We Fail, a national effort to challenge political leaders and candidates into proposing answers to the two most important domestic issues facing all Americans - lifetime financial security and affordable health care.

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