(Washington, DC) – The House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) would substantially increase the health insurance premiums of older Americans age 50 - 64, while cutting back on premium subsidies that people use to pay for their health insurance, warns The Senior Citizens League. “The combination of higher premium costs and lower premium subsidies that people would receive under the replacement plan would make health insurance unaffordable for millions of low and middle income Americans,” states Mary Johnson, a Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League (TSCL).
Johnson, who volunteers to help people shop for health plan coverage during the fall Open Enrollment period, says that millions of people would be at risk of losing their health insurance under the new replacement legislation in the House, especially those with low incomes. The legislation completely changes funding for Medicaid that provides health benefits for the poor and nursing home care for seniors and the disabled. “Instead, the legislation provides a $400 billion tax cut for a handful of the nation’s wealthiest families by ending two sources of funding that goes to the Medicare hospital insurance trust fund,” Johnson notes.
“The Obamacare replacement bill changes how the federal government would pay state Medicaid programs, which provide care for low income people —from a program that pays a percentage of the costs of everyone whose income is low enough to qualify, to one that provides capped per person payments. “That could force states to ration benefits, or reduce the number of people who receive health care coverage or nursing home care,” Johnson points out.
According to a new poll conducted by TSCL, older Americans are divided over a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The poll found that 40 percent say they are opposed to repealing the Affordable Care Act altogether. Only 15 percent support a repeal without any replacement, as advocated by the most conservative Members of the U.S. House and Senate. 20 percent say they would support a repeal when a replacement plan is established. Another 25 percent said they would only support a partial repeal that would not affect Medicare.
“A repeal of the two Medicare tax provisions would cause the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund to go insolvent much sooner than 2028 which is the Part A Trust Fund’s currently forecast insolvency date,” Johnson says. “Prior to the passage of those two taxes, the Trust Fund was forecast to become insolvent in 2017,” she says.
“GOP leadership has kept this bill in hiding and now is trying to push it through without full and transparent legislative process,” Johnson says. “TSCL strongly believes that no Members of Congress should vote on The American Health Care Act until the Congressional Budget Office releases a report on how the legislation will affect the federal budget deficit and how many people will lose their insurance. TSCL is fighting to protect older Americans from cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits. “Anyone who cares about his or her health coverage, Medicaid and Medicare, should contact your Members of Congress now,” Johnson urges.
A new estimator by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation can help people get an idea of how much they stand to lose in premiums subsidies under the proposed Obamacare replacement bill. What do you think? Visit www.SeniorsLeague.org to participate in TSCL’s annual Senior Survey.
With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association. Visit www.SeniorsLeague.org for more information.