AARP Opposes New Health-Care Bill
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.