If our government representatives were as thorough about gun violence or insurance as they were about scheduling a hearing on the United & Delta incidents on airplanes, we would have a thorough review of the AHCA and why we are considering an age tax on Americans. What’s at a stake is that insurers could charge older adults 5 times what younger consumers pay for health insurance. The AHCA would reduce tax credits for older adults and increase annual premiums by $13,000 according to the CBO. When I was young, I often couldn’t access any kind of healthcare and frequently used Planned Parenthood as it was my only option. At that time, doctors simply wouldn’t see you if you didn’t have insurance. While today, they will see you with cash, your options for private health insurance typically cover very little when it’s affordable, and are very expensive for basic well-care, so forget it if you have a hint of a condition to address.
I hear and see the GOP celebrating with ease the death and disease of Americans with their plan to allow States to decide what you get or don’t get. This is done by States obtaining a federal waiver that allows insurers to charge even more for consumers with preexisting conditions.
25 million people aged 50-64 have a preexisting condition and that number goes up when you consider the age of all Americans suffering from allergies or ADHD. While this is currently protected by law through the ACA that prohibits consumers from paying more for insurance than those without conditions, the AHCA plans to have States use an outdated, ineffective as well as expensive high-risk pool to cover the preexisting conditions of their choice. This will cost about $25,000 a year by 2019 according to AARP’s Public Policy Institute, and the high-risk pools previously placed such a financial burden on States that the benefits were limited and enrollment was capped. The bottom line is if you can get covered under this type of plan, it’s going to be expensive and limited. Who can afford that kind of coverage?
The AHCA goes further by allowing States to obtain insurance company waivers to eliminate things like emergency services, hospitalization, prescription drugs, mental health services, chronic disease management, and preventive care. Just imagine you break your arm and need to head to the emergency room for a cast, only to discover you’re not covered. I broke my hand last year and the fees were over $2000 and with insurance, I still paid $1000 out of pocket and I was never offered any kind of physical therapy to address the break on my wrist which affected my career as a writer.
The AHCA attacks Medicaid and Medicare by first reducing Medicare revenues to hasten its insolvency, to weaken its ability to pay for services and by failing to address the cost of prescriptions. It also cuts Medicaid funding by $880 billion over 10 years affecting over 17 million seniors, children, and adults with disabilities and risking critical long-term service and support.
Those with chronic illnesses have seen medication costs rise more than double since 2006! The AHCA not only reduces and eliminates coverage in the name a “big government bad”, but rewards drugmakers and insurance companies with $200 billion tax breaks. If you’re covering far less, why exactly do you need a tax break? I understand the concern with a fine for the poorest persons, but why was there no real marketing of the fact that people could opt out of that fine with a simple online form or via answering a question in your online tax filing? Do we want people to be uninformed or are we more concerned with corporate than human interests? When it is your family, the answer is obvious.
Millions of Americans remain without health insurance, and another 24 million would lose coverage in a decade according to the CBO. What is our humanity asking of us today?
It’s time to think of more than just whether I’m fine or healthy, but how we as Americans age and what those aging requirements look like. We cannot simply view this in black and white terms of how to get young people who don’t need or want insurance to buy it and only how sick people get as they age, but rather how we as Americans value our daily livelihoods. If being female is a justification for earning less and paying more, the real question is not whether the government is interfering in your health, but in our wallet.