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AARP: For Older Mainers, GOP Plan Risks Health, Long-Term Care Access

White House spokesman Sean Spicer defended the GOP health-care plan again on Tuesday, noting that President Trump takes exception to people calling it "TrumpCare." (Vicapeadia/Wikimedia)
White House spokesman Sean Spicer defended the GOP health-care plan again on Tuesday, noting that President Trump takes exception to people calling it "TrumpCare." (Vicapeadia/Wikimedia)
March 15, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine – The Congressional Budget Office report issued this week has added to the concerns of local senior advocates that the American Health Care Act would raise costs for Mainers ages 50 and older, affecting their access to health care and long-term care services.

According to the CBO, 24 million Americans could lose health insurance under the House Republicans' plan by the year 2026.

Lori Parham, state director of AARP Maine, says the report also predicts the uninsured rate for people ages 50 to 64 would also double by 2026, in part, because of the high cost of coverage.

"First and foremost, for people age 50 to 64, this bill would allow age rating of five to one, which means that insurance companies could charge older Americans premiums as much as five times that of younger Americans," she explained.

The White House defended the American Care Act again on Tuesday, emphasizing that it will be very difficult to repeal Obamacare without passage of the GOP plan.

Parham says many Americans don't realize that having Medicaid is the primary reason many older Mainers have access to long-term care, including nursing-home care, and she says that isn't only the case for lower-income people.

"As the oldest state in the nation and growing older, any changes like this to the Medicaid program would have very negative impacts on older Mainers ability to receive long-term care services," she said.

The White House and Congressional Republicans are pushing back on the CBO estimates of people who will lose coverage, saying they're too high.

But Parham says that's only part of the story, the American Health Care Act also includes big bonuses for major players in the health-care industry.

"There is a repeal of a tax on drug companies and device manufacturers," she added. "So in essence, industry gets hand-outs, but consumers are going to be paying more, and that's a real concern for us."

The White House also said on Tuesday that, while President Donald Trump supports the plan, he does not want his name on it, as some have dubbed it "TrumpCare."

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME