Legislative Report…Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott

I don’t know about you, but the one thing that keeps swirling in my head is Medicare and Medicaid and my ability to pay the bills that they seem to generate. And as many problems as Obamacare has, I may become less happy and pay more once the Senate has their way. It looks like our wonderful Congress is planning a “new and improved” version of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will allow insurers to charge us oldsters more, while reducing subsidies and slashing Medicaid, which provides health care to 1 in 5 Americans. It’s called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. A bit of a misnomer…

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that, over the 2017-2026 period, enacting this legislation would reduce direct spending by $1,022 billion and reduce revenues by $701 billion, for a net reduction of $321 billion in the deficit over that period.

• The largest savings would come from reductions in outlays for Medicaid—spending on the program would decline in 2026 by 26 percent in comparison with what CBO projects under current law—and from changes to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) subsidies for nongroup health insurance. Those savings would be partially offset by the effects of other changes to the ACA’s provisions dealing with insurance coverage: additional spending designed to reduce premiums and a reduction in revenues from repealing penalties on employers who do not offer insurance and on people who do not purchase insurance.

• The largest increases in deficits would come from repealing or modifying tax provisions in the ACA that are not directly related to health insurance coverage, including repealing a surtax on net investment income and repealing annual fees imposed on health insurers.

I believe the Senate is trying to save themselves some money, but at the cost of our health. “This new Senate bill was crafted in secrecy behind closed doors without a single hearing or open debate — and it shows,” said Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president at AARP. “The Senate bill would hit millions of Americans with higher costs and result in less coverage for them. AARP is adamantly opposed to the Age Tax, which would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more for coverage than everyone else while reducing tax credits that help make insurance more affordable.”

And all this after President Trump already delivered a one-two punch to the ACA. He announced the elimination of the subsidy payments to insurers that help lower-income Americans afford health care. That move came just hours after he signed an executive order that he says will promote more competition in the health insurance market.

We need to stay informed and let our Senators know that this bill, H.R. 1628, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, is not better care, but more expensive care!

Read more about it in your national AARP Newsletter or here: https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/advocacy/info2017/senate-health-care-bill.html?intcmp=Outbrain&obref=obinsite