AARP Officials Criticize GOP Health Care Bill

Mar 14, 2017

Officials from the AARP recently discussed their concerns about the GOP health care overhaul proposal known as the American Health Care Act.  The group opposes the legislation and calls some of its provisions an age tax.

The Republican Obamacare repeal and replace legislation is under fire by the AARP.    House Speaker Paul Ryan says the bill would lower premiums by 10 percent. But AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond says the proposal would make health care less secure and unaffordable.  “Although no one believes the current health care system is perfect, the American Health Care Act is not the answer. The American Health Care Act weakens Medicare opening the door to a voucher program. It increases insurance premiums for older Americans. And it does nothing to lower drug costs and puts at serious risk the health and safety of more than 17 million children and adults with disabilities and seniors who rely on Medicaid. Older Americans need more affordable health care services. This plan goes in the opposite direction. Insurance premiums for older adults would skyrocket.”

The AARP is has posted an online video calling the GOP’s American Health Care Act an “age tax.”  “Age rating is like an age tax. It means that health insurers can charge you higher premiums just because of your age.”

AARP Public Policy Institute Vice President Lina Walker:  “What we find is that age rating increases costs significantly for older Americans.  It reduces costs slightly for other groups. But it doesn’t do much to increase enrollment which is what one of the apparent goals.”  

“And if I can add to that the real issue for us is affordability.”  AARP Legislative Policy Director David Certner notes implementation of the bill could cost seniors thousands more in health costs annually.  “And the key here is to make insurance affordable.  Obviously seniors who are already paying three times as much simply can’t afford to be penalized by thousands and thousands of dollars to try to get younger folks into the plan.”

The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the bill Monday afternoon. It estimates 14 million people would lose coverage in the first year and 24 million after 10 years.  The White House and GOP supporters of the bill say they don’t trust the CBO numbers.   The AARP says the analysis proves the financial burden under the GOP plan would fall disproportionately on older Americans and make harmful changes to the health care system.  

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders released a video slamming the proposed legislation following release of the analysis.   “While 24 million Americans are thrown off of health insurance; while seniors will be forced to pay outrageously more for the health care that they desperately need; while women will not be able to continue to access Planned Parenthood for their needs; this legislation provides $275 billion in tax breaks to the top 2 percent of our population.  This legislation is a disgrace.”

The bill is scheduled for markup in the House Budget Committee on Thursday.