PNS Daily Newscast - December 14, 2017 

GOP leaders reach an agreement on their tax bill, we have a report on the likely squeeze on state and local revenues; also on our nationwide rundown; should ex-felons have the right to vote or own guns? And we will clue you in on the most dangerous place to drive this holiday season.

Daily Newscasts

AARP Opposes Health-Care Replacement Plan

Repeal of the of the Affordable Care Act could hurt Washington state seniors, AARP says. (Jacoblund/iStockphoto)
Repeal of the of the Affordable Care Act could hurt Washington state seniors, AARP says. (Jacoblund/iStockphoto)
March 15, 2017

SEATTLE – Opposition to the GOP's proposed American Health Care Act is growing, including from organizations and even some Republican lawmakers. AARP is also speaking up against the current replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

Mike Tucker, volunteer state president for AARP Washington, says the flat tax-credit proposal in the plan amounts to an "age tax" that would increase premiums for older Americans. He says the bill would also cause the Medicare trust fund to dry up four years earlier than expected, pinching state budgets and pricing many seniors out of insurance.

"I don't see this bill as doing anything other than causing decline in both physical health and financial health for a large chunk of the U.S. population," he said.

Republicans who support the plan say it will make health care more affordable and reduce the deficit. This week's report from the Congressional Budget Office estimates it would reduce the deficit by more than $330 billion over the next decade. However, it also says 24 million people would lose health coverage in that same period.

A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans at retirement age living on $15,000 annual incomes could lose nearly $5,900 in tax credits per year to help pay for coverage under the proposed health plan.

Tucker says Republican promises of more choice under the new plan aren't enough.

"Choice without affordability is no choice at all," he added.

Under current rules, insurance companies can't charge older Americans rates any higher than three times more than other people for their health-care premiums. The plan weakens this regulation, and allows insurers to charge five times more to older Americans.

Tucker says GOP supporters of the bill should heed to what their constituents want.

"Listen to the American people who are in vast numbers, in fact, the majority of Americans, would prefer to see an improvement on the Affordable Care Act," said Tucker.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA