AP sources: Democrats’ health bill to get AARP backing

By Branko Brkic 6 November 2009

America’s most powerful lobby group, the American Association of Retired Persons – it really is – plans to endorse the health care reform legislation making its way to the floor of the House of Representatives for debate and a vote. In the same way an AARP endorsement became crucial in the fight over the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003, the Obama administration looks to the AARP to carry this year’s health legislation forward. This bill has political traps for the AARP too since many retirees are worried it will ultimately mean cuts in Medicare, the US health plan that covers virtually every retired person in America. The betting is some votes may even come as early as this weekend. Democratic leadership is increasingly confident they have the numbers  (218 out of 435) to win.  Once the House bill is passed, it would have to be reconciled with whatever bill moves from the Senate, before Obama could sign it into law. The current version of the House bill is stronger on ending a decades-long exemption from antitrust laws for the insurance industry to promote competition – read lower prices, more efficient insurance management – in the health insurance industry. Read more: AP

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