Budget Bill Endangers Health, Long-Term Care Services

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On Feb. 1, the 2006 budget reconciliation bill is expected to come up for a final vote in Congress. The bill includes provisions that would endanger the health and long-term care of millions of Americans.

AARP opposes this bill. It protects the interests of the pharmaceutical and managed care industries at the expense of the most vulnerable Americans. The bill could deny Americans Medicaid coverage for nursing home care if they have donated to family, church or other charities within the last five years. Others may have to forfeit their homes in order to be approved for long-term care services. This asset transfer provision may affect 120,000 Americans who need nursing home care.

This bill also requires all Medicare Part B beneficiaries to pay higher premiums and it forces low-income Medicaid recipients to pay more for their care -- and if they cannot afford to do so, potentially deny them care entirely.

It's shameful that this final budget bill contains measures that penalize innocent people, threatens their ability to keep their homes and shows a preference for protecting the powerful pharmaceutical companies and managed care industries at the expense of millions of Americans.

There is still time for Congress to do the right thing. Vote "No" on the 2006 budget reconciliation bill.

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