June 12, 2009 11:31 ET

Obama Visit Finds Illinois Residents in Health Care Crisis

AARP Survey Details Majority of 50 Plus Struggling With Soaring Health Care Costs -- Highlights Need for Real Reform

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - June 12, 2009) - With President Barack Obama set to visit Illinois on Monday to discuss health care reform -- a new AARP survey released today has found that older residents in the state are living a health care nightmare. The survey details that much of the 50 plus population are forced to cut pills, skip medications and delay visits to the doctor's office all due to the soaring medical costs.

AARP is urging the President and Congress to focus on real solutions when it comes to health care reform, focusing on driving down costs and increasing access -- including ensuring Americans ages 50-64 have a choice of affordable health care coverage regardless of age or preexisting conditions. The issue is a top priority for AARP.

"Illinoisans, like other Americans, aren't just struggling with a broken health care system, they are being crushed by it," said Bob Gallo, State Director for AARP Illinois. "While our elected officials in Washington, DC continue to debate health care reform, nearly 270,000 Illinoisans between the ages of 50-64 struggle through a medical no-man's land -- unable to get or pay for the coverage they need."

The survey of AARP members in Illinois finds soaring health care costs taking a harsh toll on the state's 50 plus population. Key survey findings include:

--  80% are worried about rising health care costs while 70% are worried
    they won't be able to afford to pay for a major illness;
--  32% have not filled or delayed filling a prescription because they
    didn't have the money to pay for it;
--  57% cite difficulty paying for the basics, including medication and;
--  79% believe health care in Illinois is in a state of crisis or has
    major problems.

AARP is pressing for several key health care reform measures, including closing the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole," creating access to generic versions of expensive biologic prescription drugs, preventing costly hospital readmissions by creating a follow-up care benefit in Medicare and making it easier for older individuals to get long-term care services in the community and avoid expensive institutional care.

The full survey, Health Care Reform: A Survey of AARP Illinois Members, can be found online at:

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    David Irwin
    (312) 458-3621

    Gerardo Cardenas
    (312) 458-3609