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New Senate Plan Must Make Good on Pledge to "Fix Health Care"

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All eyes are on U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who reveals the latest version of a Senate health-care plan today. (BreakingNews/Wiki)
All eyes are on U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who reveals the latest version of a Senate health-care plan today. (BreakingNews/Wiki)
 By Mike CliffordContact
July 13, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to take the wraps off the latest version of the Republican Party’s health care plan Thursday, but consumer and senior groups in New Hampshire say it needs to be a major improvement over the last version.

Todd Fahey, state director of AARP New Hampshire, says AARP analyzed the original Senate plan and its $5 billion cut to Medicare over the next 10 years. He says AARP found the plan could put the main source of health coverage for 1-in-5 Granite State residents at risk.

"This does not fix health care,” he states. “It rather shifts the costs and burdens of health care to the citizens of New Hampshire who are least able to afford it. It also makes health care unaffordable and inaccessible for tens of thousands of New Hampshire residents."

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its score of the updated plan on Monday.

Fahey says by 2022, as many 118,000 New Hampshire residents would have lost coverage under original Senate plan, but its backers have said trimming the Medicare rolls is necessary to make the program sustainable.

Fahey says the original plan also included what amounted to an age tax.

AARP estimates by 2020, a 60-year-old in New Hampshire earning $20,000 a year could pay up to $1,900
more per year in premiums, and $4,500 more a year in deductibles, co-insurance and co-payments.

"It's going to allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more for coverage than everybody else, at the same time reducing the tax credits that help them afford the coverage,” he points out. “Whether you buy insurance on your own or whether you get it through your employer, it's not something we are going to be able to support."

Fahey adds the original plan would have resulted in higher Medicare premiums because it gave a $26 billion break to pharmaceutical companies over the next 10 years. He says that wouldn't work for people in New Hampshire already on Medicare, or who soon will be.

"But, what's really most important is that 313,000 residents between that ages of 50 to 64 are going to transition into Medicare over the next 15 years,” he states. “So, it's really important this program provides the needed care that people have come to expect, the guaranteed benefits."


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