The latest effort by Republicans in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act threatens to make health care unaffordable and inaccessible for millions of older Americans, according to a report from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) released Wednesday evening.
The bill, spearheaded by Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), would block grant health care funding to the states. Those grants would steadily decline over time, resulting in a $239 billion federal funding decrease over the next decade.
The plan would also repeal a number of taxes mandates that are in place under Obamacare. States would be able to create high risk pools or eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions, which could result in skyrocketing costs.
“The bill eliminates two sources of financial assistance – premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions – critical to ensuring that low- to moderate-income older adults are able to afford the coverage they need,” the authors of the AARP report write.
According to the report, a 60-year-old earning $25,000 a year could see their premiums and out-of-pocket costs rise by as much as $16,174 if they wanted to keep their current coverage, and the bill would also allow states to charge older adults more by waiving federal protections that limit age rating.
The AARP highlights Alaska and Arizona, both states with senators who are key swing votes, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and John McCain (R-AZ).
If the bill is signed into law, a 60-year-old in Alaska making $25,000 could pay up to $31,790 more to keep their current coverage. The same person in Arizona could pay up to $22,074 more.
“This increase is simply unaffordable,” the AARP report concludes.
— Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) September 20, 2017
Republicans in Congress are attempting to pass the Graham-Cassidy repeal and replace bill, which is also sponsored by Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), through the reconciliation process ending September 30. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he intends to bring the bill to the floor for a vote next week.
But the Congressional Budget Office will not be able to score the bill before next week, meaning senators will vote on the repeal bill without data from the CBO about how the bill will affect the deficit, coverage, or premiums.
Other analyses, however, have tried to answer some of those questions.
Another report released Wednesday by non-partisan health consulting firm Avalere found that every state would suffer following the expected $4 trillion in cuts over the next two decades, and a report from the Commonwealth Fund found that 32 million people would lose their health insurance by 2026 if the bill were signed into law.