The AARP endorsed the reconciliation healthcare bill today, placing the heft of its 40 million members behind final passage.

"After a thorough analysis of the reform package, we believe this legislation brings us so much closer to helping millions of older Americans get quality, affordable health care," AARP chairwoman Bonnie Cramer said in a statement.  "For too long, our members and others have faced spiraling prescription drug costs, discriminatory practices by insurance companies and a Medicare system awash in fraud, waste and abuse."

AARP CEO Barry Rand sent a letter to every member of Congress today urging them to support the legislation.

The group has consistently supported healthcare reform, but has often withheld its official endorsement until the last minute.