When the Republicans finally released their secretive wealthcare bill yesterday, several horrible elements immediately jumped out, many or most of them affecting citizens 46 years of age and older. Wealthcare bill provisions would decimate Medicaid, which 64% of nursing home residents rely on. The bill would allow insurance companies to charge higher rates to people with pre-existing conditions, something that would affect an estimated 130 million Americans, many over the age of 50 years old. And finally, the wealthcare bill includes an “age tax” that would mean beginning at age 46 years old, insurance companies could begin charging up to five times more than premiums for younger people:
The AHCA would raise that limit: Premiums for older people could jump to five times the amount insurers charge younger consumers, from the limit of three times the younger consumers’ rate under the current law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Such a change would significantly increase financial burdens on millions of older adults, but the shift in costs would do little to get more young consumers to enroll.
Needless to say, this will have a dramatic effect on the 38 million members of AARP and they released a very strong statement vowing to hold all 100 senators accountable for their vote:
“This new Senate bill was crafted in secrecy behind closed doors without a single hearing or open debate—and it shows. The Senate bill would hit millions of Americans with higher costs and result in less coverage for them. AARP is adamantly opposed to the Age Tax, which would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more for coverage than everyone else while reducing tax credits that help make insurance more affordable.
“AARP is also deeply concerned that the Senate bill cuts Medicaid funding that would strip health coverage from millions of low-income and vulnerable Americans who depend on the coverage, including 17 million poor seniors and children and adults with disabilities. The proposed Medicaid cuts would leave millions, including our most vulnerable seniors, at risk of losing the care they need and erode seniors’ ability to live in their homes and communities.
“The Senate bill also cuts funding for Medicare which weakens the programs ability to pay benefits and leaves the door wide open to benefit cuts and Medicare vouchers. AARP has long opposed proposals that cut benefits or weaken Medicare.
“As we did with all 435 Members of the House of Representatives, AARP will also hold all 100 Senators accountable for their votes on this harmful health care bill. Our members care deeply about their health care and have told us repeatedly that they want to know where their elected officials stand. We strongly urge the Senate to reject this bill.”
Why are Republicans so hellbent on harming so many Americans in exchange for private insurance and Big Pharma profits and a tax cut to 400 of the wealthiest families in America? Will the AARP deliver the strongest resistance to this deadly agenda in 2018? We’ll find out in 501 days when voters will be able to make their voices heard at the ballot box.