Obama, AARP begin push to win seniors' support for reform

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Obama, AARP begin push to win seniors' support for reform
Obama, AARP begin push to win seniors' support for reform
Proposed cuts to Medicare and misinformation about advance care planning in legislation have raised concerns among seniors over healthcare reform. Now the Obama administration is facing an uphill battle to win over this reluctant group of voters, recent news articles say.

Reform bills approved by three House committees would cut approximately $563 billion from Medicare over the next decade. That has given many seniors the impression that they will lose big under the Democratic proposal, The Washington Post reported. Also, conservative politicians, talk-radio programs and seniors groups have espoused the idea that reform will lead to waiting lines for doctors, rationed care for seniors and government "death panels," according to the Post. (The latter stems from a legislative provision to reimburse doctors through Medicare for counseling sessions about end-of-life directives.) As a result, as many as two-thirds of seniors oppose the current reform efforts, some studies have shown.

Obama advisers have been busy figuring out ways to show seniors that reform efforts will help, rather than hurt them. One idea they've had is to create a Web site dedicated to debunking healthcare reform myths, according to the Post. Also, more mainstream seniors groups, including AARP, and a number of independent policy analysts have begun telling seniors that the proposed cuts will affect healthcare providers, not beneficiaries, and that the reform measures could improve long-term care in the long run.