Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - December 15, 2017 


What's next following the FCC vote to end net neutrality? We have a pair of reports. Also on our Friday rundown: We'll let you know why adolescents in foster care need opportunities to thrive; and steps you can take to avoid losing your holiday loot.

Daily Newscasts

AARP Opposes New Health-Care Bill

AARP Idaho says the American Health Care Act raises questions about nursing-home coverage for seniors provided through Medicaid. (kzenon/iStockphoto)
AARP Idaho says the American Health Care Act raises questions about nursing-home coverage for seniors provided through Medicaid. (kzenon/iStockphoto)
March 17, 2017

BOISE, Idaho - The Republican health-care bill replacing the Affordable Care Act is moving through the U.S. House, but many organizations and even some inside the GOP are opposed to it.

AARP has expressed its opposition as well, saying the bill is bad news for many Americans age 50 and older. Lupe Wissel, state director of AARP Idaho, said the age-rating policy in the bill, which allows insurance companies to charge older Americans even higher premiums, amounts to an "age tax" that could cost Idahoans thousands more dollars each year.

"The current rate that they're paying is three times than a younger person is paying," she said. "The new one would increase that to five times, and that can mean up to $8,400 more a year for the same coverage."

Supporters of the bill have said it will lead to more choices for Americans and help lower the federal deficit. A Congressional Budget Office report said the bill could cut the deficit by more than $330 billion over the next decade. However, it said, 24 million Americans could lose their coverage over the same time period.

AARP also is concerned that funds for Medicare could dry up four years earlier than expected, potentially leaving the door open to changing the program into a voucher system. Wissel said there are questions about what would happen to seniors in nursing homes or with home-care services provided through Medicaid. Now is the time to be asking those questions of Congress, she said.

"They need to hear from their constituency," she said. "You know, every bill has winners and losers. I think that this particular bill would have a negative impact on the older population."

The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and other health groups also have come out against the bill.

The CBO report is online at cbo.gov and AARP's statement is at aarp.org.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID