CA Senior Advocates Slam Efforts to Revive GOP Health Plan
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - As members of Congress return home for their spring recess, they're starting to hear from seniors in their districts who oppose any attempt to revive the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare.
The American Health Care Act was withdrawn at the end of March when it couldn't get enough votes, but negotiations are under way to attract the support of the conservative Freedom Caucus. Blanca Castro, advocacy manager with AARP California, said that could mean gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions. She said volunteers are fanning out in each of California's 53 congressional districts to make their point.
"They're either scheduling meetings or attending local events that local members of Congress may be hosting," she said, "and urging not bringing up a repeal of the Affordable Care Act unless there is a replacement that will keep people with pre-existing conditions covered."
AHCA supporters say it would free people from the government mandate to get insurance, lift burdensome regulations and encourage more competition among insurers. However, a recent study showed 2.6 million Californians between ages 50 and 64 have pre-existing medical conditions and would be at risk of being dropped from their insurance or priced out of the market if the AHCA or an equivalent passes.
Castro said the first Republican proposal also contained a provision allowing insurance companies to charge seniors a lot more in premiums than younger customers.
"The proposal that they had before would have left millions of people without any health insurance," she said, "because the 'age tax' rating that they were proposing required people who are older to pay up to five times more."
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan's first proposal also would have slashed billions of dollars from Medicaid, forcing millions of lower-income people off the program and into the high-priced individual insurance market to get coverage.