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Columbia Business Monthly

AARP CEO: Encouraged by Biden's Call For Congress to Act

Mar 03, 2022 04:05AM ● By David Dykes


 By Liv Osby 

AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said it’s encouraging that President Biden, during his State of the Union address March 1, 2022, urged Congress to act.

“If the prices for household goods grew as fast as drug prices over the last 15 years, gas would now cost $12.20 a gallon and milk would be $13 a gallon,” she said. “For all those years, politicians made promises to lower drug prices, but they just kept going up.”

“How much longer will older Americans be forced to wait for the Senate to lower drug prices?” she asked. “Now is the time to get the job done. We urge the Senate to keep their promises to voters and lower drug prices, reduce seniors’ drug costs, and save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.” Allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices would help protect seniors from inflation, and it’s a policy that is strongly supported by vast majorities of voters of all stripes, she said. 

Jenkins added that she was also encouraged that Biden is addressing the quality of care in nursing homes, saying the federal government must act swiftly to ensure minimum staffing standards, increase transparency, and hold nursing homes accountable when they don't provide quality care.

“For years, AARP and AARP Foundation have sounded the alarm about problems in America’s nursing homes,” she said. “The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the chronic, ongoing issues with our long-term care system and emphasized the need for reform. It is a national disgrace that more than 200,000 residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities died.”

The South Carolina Hospital Association said it has long promoted health plans offered on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, said spokesman Schipp Ames.

“SCHA has … has worked with health care stakeholders across the state to help more South Carolinians access health insurance – many for the first time in their lives,” he said. “As one of 12 states in the country that has not expanded Medicaid to cover more low-income adults, South Carolina’s hospitals and health systems are encouraged by efforts to enhance federal health insurance subsidies to help close the coverage gap in the state.”