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Seniorgram: Sending a Message on Senior Issues

House-passed healthcare bill dangerous for millions of older Americans

RoseannMartocciaHeadshotExective Director Roseann Martoccia

Sandy Markwood, CEO, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), released the following statement on May 4, 2017, after the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the House of Representatives. N4a is a membership association representing America’s national network of 622 area agencies on aging (AAAs).

The bill as passed represents a grave risk to millions of older adults, caregivers, and people with disabilities, as this bill would negatively impact their access to the affordable health care and accessible long-term care they need to maintain their health and independence.

As advocates for quality long-term services and supports provided at home and in the community, as well as a range of evidence-based healthy aging programs, n4a is deeply concerned by the passage of AHCA.

The measure:

  • cuts $839 billion from the Medicaid program
  • would allow insurers to significantly increase premiums based on a consumer’s age
  • shortens the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by four years
  • eliminates a key prevention program that funds local falls prevention and chronic disease self-management efforts that are critical to preserving the health of older Americans

The bill’s recent updates to allow states to waive essential health benefits and community rating rules, which put anyone with a preexisting condition at risk of being unable to secure affordable health care, only add to our long list of concerns about the negative effects this legislation will have on older adults and all Americans.

An article published on May 4 in the LA Times also emphasized the point that those with preexisting conditions could be placed in high-risk pools depending on what a state elected to do.  High-risk pools were tried by 35 states prior to the Affordable Care Act.  In almost every case, they failed because of underfunding.  California’s experience is worth recalling.  When California’s high-risk pool, known as the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (MR. MIP), was started in 1990, it was funded with a $30 million budget.  By 2009, enrollment in the high-risk pool was capitated at 7,100 enrollees and premiums were set as much as 37% higher than market rates for individual policies.  These plans also capped benefits at $75,000, not enough to cover treatments for some diseases and conditions.  As people age, serious illness increases and this further puts elders at risk with such a provision in the AHCA.  

As the healthcare action moves to the Senate, there will be much work ahead, but for now, we urge older adults, caregivers, people with disabilities, and other consumers to raise their concerns with their representatives who voted in favor of this bill, which will have dangerous consequences for millions of Americans.

Sandy Markwood, CEO, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), released the following statement on May 4, 2017, after the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the House of Representatives. N4a is a membership association representing America’s national network of 622 area agencies on aging (AAAs).

The bill as passed represents a grave risk to millions of older adults, caregivers, and people with disabilities, as this bill would negatively impact their access to the affordable health care and accessible long-term care they need to maintain their health and independence.

As advocates for quality long-term services and supports provided at home and in the community, as well as a range of evidence-based healthy aging programs, n4a is deeply concerned by the passage of AHCA.

The measure:

  • cuts $839 billion from the Medicaid program
  • would allow insurers to significantly increase premiums based on a consumer’s age
  • shortens the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by four years
  • eliminates a key prevention program that funds local falls prevention and chronic disease self-management efforts that are critical to preserving the health of older Americans

The bill’s recent updates to allow states to waive essential health benefits and community rating rules, which put anyone with a preexisting condition at risk of being unable to secure affordable health care, only add to our long list of concerns about the negative effects this legislation will have on older adults and all Americans.

An article published on May 4 in the LA Times also emphasized the point that those with preexisting conditions could be placed in high-risk pools depending on what a state elected to do.  High-risk pools were tried by 35 states prior to the Affordable Care Act.  In almost every case, they failed because of underfunding.  California’s experience is worth recalling.  When California’s high-risk pool, known as the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (MR. MIP), was started in 1990, it was funded with a $30 million budget.  By 2009, enrollment in the high-risk pool was capitated at 7,100 enrollees and premiums were set as much as 37% higher than market rates for individual policies.  These plans also capped benefits at $75,000, not enough to cover treatments for some diseases and conditions.  As people age, serious illness increases and this further puts elders at risk with such a provision in the AHCA. 

As the healthcare action moves to the Senate, there will be much work ahead, but for now, we urge older adults, caregivers, people with disabilities, and other consumers to raise their concerns with their representatives who voted in favor of this bill, which will have dangerous consequences for millions of Americans.