AARP applauds the withdrawal of the American Health Care Act. It would’ve been a boon for special interests, not a plan to improve care for Coloradans.
The decision to pull the bill from consideration on March 24 in the U.S. House of Representatives shows Americans have the ability to make themselves heard. That bill would have added an “age tax” on older Americans and put vulnerable populations — including tens of thousands of Hispanics — at risk.
The “age tax” would have cost older consumers thousands of dollars a year for health insurance. At the same time, special interests would’ve enjoyed a windfall of tax breaks, including deals for insurance companies, drug makers and manufacturers of medical devices.
The AHCA would’ve eliminated an annual fee on health insurers saving them billions, and it would have repealed a fee on prescription drugs, providing a $25 billion gift to drug companies.
These big industries shouldn’t get savings while the pocketbooks of older Americans get hit harder. It was unfair legislation that would have put the burden on Americans least likely to be able to afford it, and that includes a disproportionate number of those in Latino and African-American communities. Just consider the impact on someone earning $25,000 a year, which is a typical amount for an older consumer buying private health insurance.
We’re glad this harmful bill was withdrawn. But we know that another is being worked on now. We must urge Congress to focus on protecting and improving Medicare, providing access to affordable and quality health care, stop insurers from using discriminatory practices, and work to lower prescription drug prices, just to name a few.
AARP stands ready to work with both political parties to come up with responsible solutions that help everyone.
Putting a tax on health care for older Americans, while providing a bonanza to special interests, was not the way to go and Americans made their voices heard. Let’s keep the momentum going.
_Angela Cortez is Communications Director for AARP Colorado
[Photo by JLujan]