Below is a statement by Executive Director Kevin Prindiville of Justice in Aging
Today, the Senate took a reckless and irresponsible step towards gutting healthcare for older adults and others, and removing critical consumer protections that save lives. With Vice President Pence casting the tie-breaking vote, the Senate voted to begin a curtailed 20-hour debate on several bills that would drastically change our health care system, stripping coverage from millions of Americans and cutting over $750 billion from Medicaid. Any bill that emerges from such a chaotic process would have devastating effects on older Americans and their families.
By the end of this week, Senators will be asked to vote on some version of a repeal bill that they have not read or evaluated. This unprecedented, secretive process is completely unacceptable.
No one knows what could happen in this rush to legislate. Medicaid cuts and caps would threaten the very heart of the Medicaid program, eliminating the guarantee that Medicaid will be there when seniors need it most. Proposals to change the individual market would cause older Americans to face unaffordable premiums through the combination of an “age tax” and elimination of protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
The stakes could not be higher. We call on the Senate to put an immediate end to this chaotic and dangerous process and work in a bipartisan manner to improve the Affordable Care Act.
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