‘I urge Congress to listen to the AARP’

‘I URGE CONGRESS TO LISTEN TO THE AARP’…. President Obama doesn’t stop by the White House press briefing room unannounced very often, so it was interesting to see him make some brief remarks this afternoon about health care.

In particular, the president touted formal endorsements today of the Democratic health care reform plan from the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) and the American Medical Association (AMA). “When it comes to the AARP, this is no small endorsement,” Obama said. “For more than 50 years they have been a leader in the fight to reduce the costs of health care and expand coverage for our senior citizens. They are a nonpartisan organization and their board made their decision to endorse only after a careful, intensive, objective scrutiny of this bill. They’re endorsing this bill because they know it will strengthen Medicare, not jeopardize it; they know it will protect the benefits our seniors receive, not cut them.”

He added, “The AARP knows this bill will make health care more affordable, they know it will make coverage more secure, they know it’s a good deal for our seniors, and that’s why we’re thrilled that they’re standing up for this effort.”

On the AMA, the president said the nation’s largest group of physicians “would not be supporting it if they really believed that it would lead to government bureaucrats making decisions that are best left to doctors. They would not be with us if they believed that reform would in any way damage the critical and sacred doctor-patient relationship.”

AMA members are “supporting reform because they’ve seen firsthand what’s broken about our health care system,” Obama added. “They’ve seen what happens when patients can’t get the care they need because some insurance company has decided to drop their coverage or water it down. They’ve seen what happens when a patient’s forced to pay out-of-pocket costs of thousands of dollars that she doesn’t have, to get the treatment she desperately needs. They’ve seen what happens when patients don’t come in for regular checkups or screenings because either their insurance company doesn’t cover them or they can’t afford health insurance in the first place. And they’ve seen far, far too much of their time spent filling out forms and haggling with insurance company bureaucrats. So the doctors of America know what needs to be fixed about our health care system. They know that health insurance reform would go a long way toward doing that.”

“I urge Congress to listen to AARP, listen to the AMA, and pass this reform for hundreds of millions of Americans who will benefit from it,” the president concluded.

It created an interesting bookend — on one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, right-wing activists were having yet another rally based on paranoid fears and debunked nonsense; on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House was welcoming support from the nation’s largest advocacy group for seniors and the nation’s largest organization of medical doctors.