Bulletin – June 28. In light of a lack of support from their own party, House Republican leaders have decided to put off a vote on this bill until after July 4. According to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, only 17 percent of those surveyed say they approve of the Senate’s health care plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Fifty-five percent say they disapprove.
June 26, 2017 — AARP, The giant association of retired people, has finally seen the Senate’s new health care bill. And they don’t like anything about it. They and a host of other organizations have sent a fiery letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell – there appear to be about 100 organizations who signed this letter.
Whatever your politics, we feel that it is important that you understand the issues in this bill, which has so many ramifications for people of retirement age. Pro or con, it is very important that you let your senators know how you feel.
Here are some of the concerns expressed by the AARP on their website: (“Senate Unveils Health Care Bill – and It’s Bad!“)
– “This new Senate bill was crafted in secrecy behind closed doors without a single hearing or open debate — and it shows,” said Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president at AARP. “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.”
– The bill changes the tax credits lower income people get to help pay their premiums. Now those credits would decrease as a person ages, meaning older adults would have to spend a higher percentage of their incomes on health insurance premiums. Out of pocket expenses would also increase as less robust policies are permitted.
– The Senate bill allows states to request waivers to opt out of essential health benefits. These waivers could mean that important coverage for people may not be available, including coverage depended on by individuals with preexisting conditions. In our experience significant numbers of people have preexisting conditions (diabetes, heart problems, cancer, etc.) by the time they are in their 50s. The Senate bill could mean many of those people will either not be able to get insurance, or it will be unaffordable.
Beyond the AARP’s objections to the bill, there are other criticisms:
The CBO estimates that 22 million Americans could lose their health insurance coverage by 2026 if the current Senate Health Care Bill were to pass. Low-income Americans in their 50s and early 60s would be disproportionately likely to lose their health care coverage under the Senate bill, according to the CBO report.
The CBO estimates that premiums will dramatically increase for older people. In one example, a 64 year old with an annual income of $26,500 would pay, after subsidies, $6500 for a mid-level silver plan vs. $1700 under the ACA, while the new plan would pay for fewer medical costs. Another 64 year old making $56,800 would pay $20,500 in premiums by 2026, about three times what the Affordable Care Act would charge.
The elimination of the mandated coverage requirement means that millions of healthy younger people will probably not buy insurance. That will result in higher premiums for everyone else, particularly older Americans, who need insurance the most.
Over six million older adults rely on Medicaid, many of whom depend on the program for long-term services — like help with bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting. Cuts to Medicaid will effect those services. The proposed Medicare cuts will probably mean that millions of older Americans in nursing homes will not be able to rely on Medicaid to pay for their support.
On the plus side
Of course some people are very pleased with the bill. Cutting health coverage for 22 million people will provide America’s wealthiest citizens with significant tax breaks. People who object to Obamacare are generally happy, especially those who don’t agree with the individual mandate, who will like seeing that requirement eliminated. And the bill could knock over $320 billion from our budget deficit over the years.
Topretirements is opposed to the Senate plan mainly because it is going to deprive millions of older Americans of affordable medical insurance. But there are plenty of other reasons to object to a bill crafted in secret with no input from the public or experts, and then rushed to a vote before people have a chance to understand it.
For further reading:
NPR – Senate Bill Could Cut Health Care Coverage to 22 Million Americans
Comments: Due to the current political climate we are not permitting comments to this article. In lieu of commenting here we suggest you inform your Senators how you feel about the bill – positive or negative.