AARP will reopen Medicare debate

WASHINGTON: The AARP kicked off a long-term nationwide campaign

last week to pressure Congress into adding a prescription drug benefit

to Medicare.



Medicare covers 39 million Americans over 65, but does not pay for

prescription drugs. The issue was widely debated in the 2000 election

cycle, but risks being sidelined in the political off-season, said Kevin

Donnellan, the AARP's director of grassroots advocacy. The organization

will mobilize its members to keep the issue alive.



On July 30, the 36th anniversary of the Medicare program, the AARP will

hold rallies simultaneously in all 50 states. The campaign also involves

nationwide gatherings, a video project that will record the stories of

senior citizens who cannot afford the drugs they need, and a new Web

site.



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