Senate leadership has announced that they will no longer move forward with the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) of 2017. Instead, they seek to proceed to a vote to immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act, and delay replacement to a later date.
While we are relieved that the BCRA, and its unprecedented cuts to Medicaid, is off the table, repealing the ACA remains a terrible idea that would harm older adults—especially in the absence of a meaningful replacement bill.
Analysis of past ACA repeal bills showed over 30 million Americans losing health coverage over the next ten years, including 19 million currently covered through Medicaid expansion and 4.5 million adults age 55-64. Premiums would skyrocket as the tax credits that help seniors and people with disabilities purchase insurance would end.
Seniors would also face unaffordable costs. Should Congress or the Administration refuse to fund the cost-sharing reductions that lower deductibles and copayments for nearly 70% of marketplace consumers ages 50-64, their out-of-pocket costs alone could rise by up to $4,500.
Under repeal, critical ACA funding that helps adults age 65 and older and people with disabilities stay in their homes would end. Repealing the Community First Choice program would result in $19 billion in cuts to Medicaid in-home care.
Further, repealing the ACA would decrease Medicare revenues and shorten the life of the Medicare Trust Fund, putting health care for generations of older adults in jeopardy.
It’s time for lawmakers to stop trying to take health care away from people and instead work together in a bipartisan way to lower costs and improve care for everyone, as promised.
Justice in Aging is a national non-profit legal advocacy organization that fights senior poverty through law. Formerly the National Senior Citizens Law Center, since 1972 we’ve worked for access to affordable health care and economic security for older adults with limited resources, focusing especially on populations that have traditionally lacked legal protection such as women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and people with limited English proficiency. Through targeted advocacy, litigation, and the trainings and resources we provide to local advocates, we ensure access to the social safety net programs that poor seniors depend on, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Contact: Vanessa Barrington