House GOPers ask AARP to retract endorsement of healthcare bill

A report predicting House Democrats' healthcare bill might affect Medicare coverage has prompted some Republican leaders to ask the AARP to consider rescinding its endorsement of that legislation.

In a letter to the seniors' lobby, sent on Tuesday, 13 GOP lawmakers stressed that expected cuts to the entitlement program could "unfairly and unnecessarily" hurt many of AARP's 35 million members, who rely on Medicare for insurance.

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"Given the severity of these Obama administration findings, it is likely that AARP's dues-paying members would benefit from a re-evaluation of your organization's endorsement of Speaker Pelosi's healthcare legislation to take the new information into account," House Republican leaders, including top GOPer John Boehner (Ohio), wrote to AARP's chief.

Motivating the GOP's latest offensive is the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' recently released cost analysis -- which paints a much different picture of House Democrats' healthcare bill than did the Congressional Budget Office's estimate, released before the bill was passed.

Although CMS predicted the bill would extend Medicaid coverage to millions of Americans, the office also noted the bill would increase the country's health expenditures by almost $290 billion over 10 years.

But most concerning to Republican lawmakers is the CMS report's revelation that the House bill would also cut Medicare by about $500 billion.

The changes, noted CMS, could hamper seniors' access to healthcare services and deter some Medicare providers from continuing their coverage -- a point GOP lawmakers repeated and emphasized in their letter on Tuesday.

"If AARP determines it can still support H.R. 3962 'with confidence' after such a review, our hope would be that your organization would provide its members with a detailed explanation of why it has chosen to renew its endorsement," the 13 Republicans wrote. "Regardless, we hope AARP will take steps to ensure its members are aware of all the facts about Speaker Pelosi's costly health care legislation."