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Advocacy Organizations to Hold Anchorage Press Conference after U.S. Senate Vote Dec. 24

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - With the U.S. Senate scheduled to vote on health care reform legislation December 24 at 8 a.m. (Eastern Time), AARP Alaska, the American Lung Association in Alaska and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network have scheduled a press conference for Thursday, December 24 from 11 a.m. - 12 noon (Alaska Time) to highlight the benefits of how the Senate's anticipated passage of health care reform legislation will affect Alaskans.

WHAT: Press conference which will follow the anticipated 8 a.m. (Eastern Time) vote in the U.S. Senate on health care reform legislation with AARP Alaska, the American Lung Association in Alaska and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

WHO:            
Roland Shanks
, healthcare reform volunteer advocate and cancer survivor
Dawnia Clements, retiree, representing seniors who have fallen in the Medicare Part D "donut hole"
Kay Ashton, Executive Director, American Lung Association in Alaska
Emily Nenon, Alaska Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Pat Luby, Director of Advocacy, AARP Alaska
Ann Secrest, Director of Communications, AARP Alaska

WHEN:
Thursday, December 24, 2009
11 a.m. - 12 noon

WHERE:
AARP Alaska State Office Conference Room
14th Floor of the Frontier Building
3601 C Street (corner of 36th & C)
Anchorage

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
"Our nation's current health care system fails people with cancer, many of whom are denied coverage, offered policies that do not cover pre-existing conditions, or charged far more than they can afford for the care they need," said Emily Nenon, Alaska Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "The Senate health care bill, while imperfect, represents a significant improvement over the existing system for people fighting cancer." Cancer is the leading cause of death in Alaska and one in three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer during their lives. An estimated 2,530 Alaskans were diagnosed with cancer during 2009 and an estimated 830 Alaskans have died from cancer this year.

American Lung Association in Alaska
"The American Lung Association in Alaska looks forward to the passage of healthcare legislation that will provide health insurance for millions more Americans, including those with lung diseases," said Kay Ashton, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Alaska. "For the thousands of Alaskans whose next breath is their most important, health care coverage should be something they can count on."

AARP
·         Closing the Medicare Part D donut hole: Closing the donut hold will help protect over 1/3 of Medicare beneficiaries from high drug costs and closing the donut hole is just one part of AARP's broader efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs for all Americans. In Alaska, 40.4% of Medicare Part D enrollees face the full cost of the donut hole. In 2010, the size of the donut hole stands at $3,610. By 2016, it is projected to double to more than $6,000. A November 2009 AARP Public Policy Institute report found that the manufacturer prices of widely used brand name drugs and specialty drugs increased by 9.3% and 10.3% respectively between October 2008 and September 2009.

·         Age rating: AARP has fought for years to abolish a discriminatory practice used by insurance companies to deny affordable coverage to people based on their age.

·         Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS): Americans need greater access to home and community-based services (HCBS) and more financing options to help them pay for these critical services. 

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