It’s been more than a week since Republican lawmakers revealed their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While President Trump offered immediate praise for the legislation, which has been dubbed the American Health Care Act, the bill has been aggressively dissected and compared to the ACAover the last several days.

While there has been criticism to the GOP proposal from all sides (especially since the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its report on Tuesday), the bill’s biggest opposition comes from its impact on older Americans.

Although the CBO reported that 14 million fewer Americans would have health insurance next year if the plan were enacted, over the past week, much of the criticism has focused on the bill’s effect on older people, especially those over the age of 50. In fact, shortly after the bill was made public, AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond released a statement in opposition.

“AARP opposes this legislation, as introduced, that would weaken Medicare, leaving the door open to a voucher program that shifts costs and risks to seniors” her statement reads. “Older Americans need affordable health care services and prescriptions. This plan goes in the opposite direction, increasing insurance premiums for older Americans and not doing anything to lower drug costs.”

“Although no one believes the current health care system is perfect, this harmful legislation would make healthcare less secure and less affordable,” LeaMond continued.

The House GOP bill’s impact on seniors stems from several changes it would make to the 2010 healthcare law. While the proposed bill eliminates the individual mandate, those having a lapse in their insurance coverage of more than 63 days are subject to a 30 percent late-enrollment surcharge. Under the new legislation, issuers can assess this surcharge on top of individual’s base premium based on their decision to forgo coverage.

This surcharge could be potentially more devastating than the individual mandate to older Americans, many of whom already spend 10 percent of their disposable income on healthcare,according to the AARP. Before reaching retirement age, adults aged 50 to 64 are more likely to face longer periods where they are out of work and without coverage. Or, they’re faced with the alternative: forced into early retirement where their premiums are too high to afford.

Another area of concern for many boomers is the GOP bill’s relaxation of how much insurers can charge for older individuals. The ACA prohibits insurers from charging older individuals premiums that are more than three times greater than premiums for younger individuals, but with the proposed legislation, insurers are able to charge older Americans as much as five times greater.

“Older Americans are specifically targeted for harm in this piece of legislation,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.). “There are going to be millions of older Americans, people on the precipice of Medicare, who are not going to be able to afford insurance.”

Prescription drugs are also a huge issue to many older Americans. And, it should be noted that the GOP bill does not repeal the Medicare Part D coverage gap (“donut hole”) protections created under the ACA. However, the legislation willremove the fee on manufacturers and importers of branded prescription drugs. The AARP projected that this fee would have added “$25 billion to the Part B trust fund between 2017 and 2026.”

While it’s encouraging that the “donut hole” and other ACA protections (such as guaranteed issue and prohibitions on pre-existing condition exclusions) will remain intact, the GOP bill seems to fall short of reducing the burden of healthcare and prescription drug costs for older Americans.

Fortunately, the American Health Care Act will continue to face plenty of opposition before anything is enacted into law. And, hopefully this resistance and pushback will help lawmakers create an improved healthcare system that cuts costs and improves coverage for all Americans.

3 thoughts on “New Healthcare Bill to Impact Seniors & Medicare

  1. Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed his Medicare-for-all bill in September of 2017. It aims to gradually reduce the uninsured rate, which currently sits around 12 percent, until it reaches 0 percent, by enrolling everyone in a nationwide public insurance plan. Under his proposal there’d be no more deductibles or co-payments. Although there’s no opting out, people would have the option to buy supplemental care through private insurers.

  2. Nice content that you have written in this blog. Medicare billing is a payment practice in the USA. But to record and check instantly about the patient insurance information, you can choose an online software called pVerify. PVerify quickly gives you access to patient claim status via manual entry, batch, or API. The information that you discuss in the article it’s very informative for any visitor. Thanks for sharing this information

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