Advocacy Groups Rail Against House Healthcare Reform Bill

 Apparently, the only people who like the healthcare reform bill narrowly passed by the House of Representatives are the people who voted for it. At least, it seems that way. Despite President Donald Trump’s assurances that the House bill will serve the healthcare insurance needs of all Americans, scores of advocacy groups -- including Justice in Aging, The Center for Medicare Advocacy, AARP, and the American Medical Association -- have been screaming their collective disdain for the measure ever since it cleared the House floor this past week. “The House of Representatives voted to take away healthcare from millions of Americans to give tax cuts to the wealthy, with seniors being hit the hardest,” said Justice in Aging, the California-based advocacy group. “The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is an all-out assault on the health and long-term care needs of older adults.” Justice in Aging said the House bill “threatens the very heart of the Medicaid program, taking away the guarantee that Medicaid will be there when seniors need it most.” The Measure Strains States’ Budgets “By slashing Medicaid funding by over $800 billion, the AHCA will place tremendous strain on state budgets,” the organization said. “States will be forced to cut services, restrict eligibility, and reduce benefits for seniors, children, people with disabilities, and low-income adults.” The House bill, as passed, would force families to pay more out-of-pocket when grandparents and other loved ones need nursing home care or home care. Two-thirds of all Medicaid spending for older adults pays for long-term services and supports. The AHCA puts this vital care for seniors in jeopardy. House Republicans also voted to impose what amounts to an “age tax” on older Americans, increasing the annual cost of coverage for those 50-64 by as much as $12,900. Under the bill, adults age 50-64 that relied on Medicaid expansion to see their doctor and get their medicines will also be left without care.   “By passing the ACHA, the House chose to cut taxes for the wealthy and pharmaceutical companies while harming Medicare beneficiaries by increasing Part B premiums and reducing the life of the Medicare Trust Fund,” Justice in Aging said.   The latest changes to the bill actually made a bad bill even worse. It will return the individual market to the pre-ACA days when older adults and those with pre-existing conditions could not afford health coverage. Without protections for people with preexisting conditions, 25 million Americans aged 50-64 may be unable to see doctors because they won’t be able to pay their much higher premiums. While the latest changes to the bill may have been meant to bolster high-risk pools, they actuall [...]

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5/5/17 05:04 AM

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