The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued guidance allowing states to condition Medicaid eligibility on fulfilling work and “community engagement” requirements. Under this policy, states can require adults to work in order to receive Medicaid if they are under age 65 and not disabled under the Social Security Administration’s strict definition. Although states are required to exempt some individuals who cannot work based on their health conditions, and encouraged to allow caregiving hours to count as work, all of these individuals will still be subject to onerous reporting requirements. This presents a significant barrier to health care access for many of the nearly 9 million adults ages 50 to 64 who rely on Medicaid, as well as nearly 5 million people with disabilities and chronic health conditions who do not receive Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income, and family caregivers. Learn more with our factsheet!
Older adults and their families strive each day to pay for health care and medicine, keep food on the table, have a roof over their heads, and have enough cash on hand to pay the utilities, get where they need to go and meet other basic needs. As families work together to meet these challenges, they are supported by a broad range of federal programs that provide Americans with the means to thrive as they grow older and remain at home and in their communities.
This issue brief discusses how these various programs work, who is eligible for them, and how they support the health and economic well-being of older Americans. For a quick overview, check out the fact sheet.
Today, the House of Representatives passed a tax bill that is a full-fledged attack on the health and well-being of older Americans and their families.
As we’ve discussed, this is all part of the House Republican leadership’s two-step process. Step one is to cut taxes for the wealthy and drive up the deficit by $1.5 trillion. Step two is to use the higher deficit to justify additional future cuts to programs we all depend on, such as Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Older American Act programs, and many others.
The inevitable program cuts that Republican leadership will push for, after they balloon the deficit, will cause lasting harm to seniors today and in the future. Further, the House bill passed today eliminates the medical expense tax deduction that provides tax relief to millions of older adults with high out-of-pocket and long-term care costs and modest incomes.
This bill overwhelmingly benefits the wealthiest Americans and big corporations at the expense of everyone else. We urge the Senate to stop this reckless process and reject any bill that drives up the deficit and takes away health care from older Americans and their families.
The revised Senate health care bill brings an idea that should be a hard sell for the over 3 million older adults and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for in-home care. On top of a massive almost $800 billion cut to Medicaid that guarantees shrunken programs and eliminated services, the Senate bill kills CFC and replaces it with an inferior version that provides fewer services for a limited time only.
Washington, DC (May 4, 2017) – Today, the House of Representatives voted to take away healthcare from millions of Americans to give tax cuts to the wealthy, with seniors being hit the hardest.
Statement by Kevin Prindiville, Executive Director of Justice in Aging
“The bill threatens the very heart of the Medicaid program, taking away the guarantee that Medicaid will be there when seniors need it most. By slashing Medicaid funding by over $800 billion, the AHCA will place tremendous strain on state budgets. States will be forced to cut services, restrict eligibility, and reduce benefits for seniors, children, people with disabilities, and low-income adults.”
“Congress is forcing families to pay more out of pocket when grandparents and other loved ones need nursing home care or home care. Two-thirds of all Medicaid spending for older adults pays for long-term services and supports. The AHCA puts this vital care for seniors in jeopardy.”
1. The AHCA Guts Medicaid: The AHCA would drastically change Medicaid and harm older adults by cutting over $800 billion in federal funding, eliminating Medicaid expansion for adults ages 55 – 64, and weakening beneficiary protections. Under the AHCA, older adults and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid would have fewer benefits and services, reduced access to home and community-based services, and receive less help paying for Medicare premiums or cost-sharing. States would be forced to make other cuts to Medicaid and other safety net programs as they will not have adequate funding to meet the needs of their aging populations. Read More
Below is a statement opposing the amended version of the American Health Care Act from Kevin Prindiville, Executive Director of Justice in Aging:
“The new version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is even worse than the previous one for the older adults in our communities. The new version of the bill includes all of the devastating cuts of the old version, and also further weakens important protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”
“Eight in ten older adults ages 55-64 have pre-existing conditions. The MacArthur amendment would allow insurance companies to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions by charging them sharply higher premiums, taking us back to pre-ACA days when these older adults couldn’t visit a doctor because they couldn’t afford to purchase insurance.”