WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–December 8, 2009. Bonnie M. Cramer, Chair of AARP’s Board of Directors is testifying today before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee during its hearing on “Prescription Drug Price Inflation: Are Prices Rising Too Fast?” Cramer is highlighting the health care needs of older Americans, and will focus on the need to close the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap, also known as the “doughnut hole.” A statement from Cramer follows:
“Closing the doughnut hole has long been a top priority for AARP. For millions of AARP members and others receiving the Part D benefit, the doughnut hole stands out as a major affordability concern and a real barrier to access. AARP has endorsed health care reform legislation that completely closes the doughnut hole, and continues to fight to help all older Americans get the prescription drugs they need at affordable prices.
“Older Americans use prescription drugs more than any other segment of the population. They are also more likely to be on a fixed income. With price increases for brand-name drugs widely used by people in Medicare continuing to outpace price increases for other consumer goods and services, more people are finding it difficult or impossible to afford the high cost of prescription drugs.
“This leads to people skipping doses or no longer taking medication at all, which can result in more serious health problems and higher long-term costs both for them and for America’s health care system as a whole.
“As the health care debate moves forward, AARP will continue to work with Congress to ensure that every American has access to affordable prescription drugs. With millions of Americans, young and old, depending on the benefits of prescription drugs to improve their health and well-being, it’s time to make these drugs even more effective by making them affordable.”