Statement on the American Health Care Act, by Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center
New York, NY—Questions abound as Congressional Republicans move to repeal the Affordable Care Act without clear answers or an independent analysis on what it will cost taxpayers, who will be covered, and what people will pay for needed health care. American families are being kept in the dark as lawmakers rush to advance a plan that would force older adults, people with disabilities, and their families to pay more for less.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) cuts Medicare by way of Medicaid caps. Ten million people with Medicare rely on Medicaid to cover vital long-term home health care and nursing home services, to help afford their Medicare costs, and more. Federal cuts to Medicaid brought about by per capita caps would drive states to make hard choices, likely leading to slashed services and increased health care costs for older people and their families.
AHCA ratchets back coverage for Americans in their 50s and 60s who are not yet eligible for Medicare. The bill would erode expanded Medicaid coverage and impose an “age tax” on premiums for private health plans by allowing insurers to charge older enrollees premiums up to five times more than those of younger enrollees, or even more if state laws permit.
AHCA creates a tax windfall for the wealthiest Americans at Medicare’s expense. The law repeals a modest tax increase on only the highest earners that helped put Medicare on strong financial footing, thereby manufacturing a Medicare funding crisis that could be used later in the name of cutting earned Medicare benefits.
For more information on the Medicare program and proposals under consideration by Congress to change it, visit the Medicare Rights Center’s “Protect and Strengthen” webpage at www.medicarerights.org/protect.
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