The proposed bill is called the American Health Care Act and it will allow insurance companies to charge older adults up to five times more than younger generations. This will lead to disastrously high rates for older Americans with lower incomes who retire early — an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office estimates an average of a $12,900 increase.
In a recent survey, 81% of retirees cited good health as the most important ingredient for a happy retirement, but if these retirees are unable to access the care they need, quality of life may sharply deteriorate.
Aimee Desroches is a retired victims’ advocate residing in a small village in Maine. Since she is 63 years old and not yet eligible for Medicare, she is currently receiving a $9,000 insurance subsidy from the ACA. If the bill is passed, not only would she receive only $4,900, but she would also be charged more.
“Because I’m low-income, I only pay about $8 a month. I would absolutely be unable to be able to have any health insurance… the increased insurance costs alone would be well more than my income.”
However, if passed, this bill could cause some serious backlash when it comes time to vote. Older people tend to be disproportionately Republican sided. But the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which currently has about 38 million members, strongly opposes the plan.
“Putting the financial burden on older Americans is not the way to solve the problems in our healthcare system. This plan increases insurance premiums for older Americans and does nothing to lower drug costs – doing the opposite of what older Americans need,” said AARP executive vice president Nancy LeaMond.
It’s no secret that health care is an essential part of overall well-being for older Americans. While the average child catches between six and 10 colds a year, aging immune systems can cause the elderly to develop even more colds and sicknesses. To make matter worse, leaving certain conditions untreated can wreak havoc on overall health — for example, untreated sleep apnea sufferers are three times as likely to have heart disease.
Ultimately, this plan doesn’t seem to benefit anybody except wealthier people and the healthcare industry, who would receive major tax breaks.
According to the AARP, “The plan would cut Medicaid funding by $880 billion, which would jeopardize essential care for 17 million seniors and people with disabilities and shift the cost to states, blowing a giant hole in state budgets and costing state taxpayers billions.”