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Congress votes to repeal health reform; AARP warns of lost benefits for older Americans Posted: January 25th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Three democrats joined 242 GOP Congress members in voting to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the health reform legislation enacted in March 2010. For many, it marked the fulfillment of a campaign promise to end a government 'takeover' over the health care system. The resolution repealing the ACA passed on a 245-189 vote.

The day before the vote took place, the AARP sent an open letter to Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging them to oppose the repeal. In his letter, AARP CEO A. Barry Rand outlined the benefits of health reform for older Americans.

"While we respect that there are those who do not support the ACA," Rand wrote, "AARP opposes repeal because the new law includes many vital provisions important to older Americans and their children."

Among the health reform provisions highlighted by Rand as beneficial:

  • Reduced prescription drug costs and closure of the Medicare 'donut hole'
  • Free preventive services
  • Caps on out-of-pocket costs
  • Prohibition against the denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions
  • Elimination of health insurance rate variations based upon age

With the Senate currently controlled by Democrats, it does not appear that the repeal will be taken up in that chamber, and the House vote may be largely symbolic.