AARP has a long history of fighting for affordable health care and against attempts to cut Medicare. That’s why we’re worried about what’s happening in Washington D.C.
Medicare is the bedrock of health security for all Americans as they age. It helps keep older people out of poverty and enables them to live with independence and dignity.
In Ohio, we know what a vital program Medicare is. Currently, more than 2 million people in Ohio are on Medicare, and another 2.5 million will be eligible for Medicare in the next 15 years.
We believe Medicare is a deal with the American people made a long time ago. Our goal is to protect that promise— for you and for future generations. Recently we’ve launched a bold new campaign to fight cuts to Medicare. You can check it out by going to http://www.aarp.org/ProtectMedicare
We can’t overstate the importance of Medicare to seniors. Today, 57 million Americans rely on Medicare to help pay for their prescription drugs, doctors’ visits and hospitalizations. And Medicare is not an entitlement – we have earned these benefits and paid in with every paycheck throughout our working lives.
The proposed American Health Care Act could end the guarantee of health insurance coverage to American seniors and dramatically increase costs for current and future retirees.
These are the four main areas we are most concerned about:
- Medicare- The American Health Care Act repeals provisions in current law that have strengthened Medicare’s fiscal outlook, specifically, the repeal of the additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on higher-income workers. Repealing this provision could accelerate the insolvency of Medicare by up to four years and diminish Medicare’s ability to pay for services in the future.
- Prescription Drug Cost – Donut hole coverage will remain in the new bill, but the American Health Care Act repeals the fee on manufacturers and importers of branded prescription drugs, which means a loss of $25 billion to the Part B trust fund between 2017 and 2026. AARP believes Congress must do more to reduce the burden of high prescription drug costs on consumers and taxpayers.
- Age-rating tax- The bill under consideration will dramatically increase health care costs for 50-64 year olds who purchase health care through a private exchange due both to the changes in age rating from 3:1 (already a compromise that requires uninsured older Americans to pay three times more than younger individuals) to 5:1 and reductions in current subsidies for older Americans. Age rating plus premium increases equal an unaffordable age tax. Significant premium increases for older consumers will make insurance less affordable and will not address their expressed concern of rising premiums.The change in structure will dramatically increase premiums for older consumers.
For a 64-year old earning $25,000 that increase
rises to more than $4,400 a year
For a 64-year old earning $15,000 that increase
rises to more than $5,800 a year
For a 55-year old earning $25,000 that increase
rises to more than $2,300 a year
When we examined the impact of both the tax credit changes and 5:1 age rating, premiums for older adults could increase by as much as:
$3,600 for a 55-year old earning $25,000 a year
$7,000 for a 64-year old earning $25,000 a year
$8,400 for a 64-year old earning $15,000 a year
In addition to these skyrocketing premiums, out-of-pocket costs could significantly increase under the bill with the elimination of cost sharing assistance in current law. The cost sharing assistance has provided relief on out-of-pocket costs (like deductibles and certain benefits) for low-income individuals who are some of the most financially vulnerable marketplace participants.
- Medicaid and Long-Term Services and Supports-AARP opposes the provisions of the American Health Care Act that create a per capita cap financing structure in the Medicaid program. We are concerned that these provisions could endanger the health, safety, and care of millions of individuals who depend on the essential services provided through Medicaid. Medicaid is a vital safety net and intergenerational lifeline for millions of individuals, including over 17.4 million low-income seniors and children and adults with disabilities who rely on the program for critical health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS, i.e., assistance with daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, managing medications, and transportation).Individuals with disabilities of all ages and older adults rely on critical Medicaid services, including home and community based services (HCBS) for assistance with daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, and home modifications; nursing home care; and other benefits such as hearing aids and eyeglasses. People with disabilities of all ages also rely on Medicaid for access to comprehensive acute health care services. For working adults, Medicaid can help them continue to work; for children, it allows them to stay with their families and receive the help they need at home or in their
Let me assure you: AARP will fight this proposal every step of the way. Medicare is a deal with the American people that must not be broken. We flatly oppose any attempts to cut Medicare or eliminate the guaranteed health care coverage that has been part of Medicare from the start.
Over 300,000 have already signed petitions to say no to Medicare cuts, which is amazing. And we’re just getting started.
If you want to be part of our grassroots movement, sign up at aarp.org/getinvolved, like the AARP Ohio Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter at @AARPOhio.