Health care is in crisis

To the Editor:

The impact of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the so-called alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be devastating for older Americans.

That the newly proposed “fix” would deprive more than 22 million Americans from health insurance coverage over the course of the next 10 years is reason enough to oppose this horrible new bill.

However, the fact that the proposal would also allow insurance companies to charge older people five times as much – or more – as they charge younger people, is unconscionable. A 64-year old making $26,500 a year would go from $1,700 to $14,600 in premiums annually. Imagine how this person would then pay for housing, food, heating and out-of-pocket health care costs.

If you are 65-plus, you will be impacted too. The guaranteed safety net coverage of Medicaid would end, including for those who need long-term care services at home or in a nursing home. This bill does not consider Maine’s large and growing aging population. The bill also discourages at-home care and encourages more costly nursing home care. Even worse, the new proposal would make it harder for older Mainers who need long-term care to qualify for Medicaid.

As if the negative impacts for older Mainers aren’t bad enough, the bill also provides an additional $200 billion worth of tax breaks to special interest groups, while at the same time doing absolutely nothing to help lower health care or prescription drug costs. This is outrageous, given these tax breaks will impact the solvency of Medicare for you and your loved ones down the road.

Please join me in urging every member of Congress to oppose this measure as adamantly as possible. Please urge everyone to vote no – the AHCA must be stopped before it does unnecessary harm to thousands of Mainers and older Americans nationwide.

Rich Livingston

AARP Maine Volunteer State President


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