AARP: GOP Health Plan Won't Work for Arizonans Over 50
Monday, March 13, 2017
PHOENIX – Arizona may hold a precarious place in the new health care system proposed by House Republicans.
The reasons are the state's aging population and higher than average insurance costs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The foundations says for most Arizonans, the tax credits they use to help pay for coverage will shrink.
Dana Marie Kennedy, state director for AARP Arizona, says the GOP plan lets insurance companies raise premiums by thousands of dollars per year for people ages 50 and older.
"Why this hits Arizona so much higher is because we don't have state laws in place that would prevent that huge price spike,” she explains, “where other states, they actually wouldn't allow the insurance companies to increase somebody's rate based on their age."
House Republicans say their plan will lower costs by attracting more health insurance companies to sell policies in more states, which would increase competition and give consumers more choice.
Despite criticism from both major parties, the draft version of the American Health Care Act managed to make it through two House committees last week.
AARP also opposes the GOP plan because of what it does to Medicaid. Starting in 2020, the plan caps how much the federal government spends on Medicaid, passing more costs onto the states.
Kennedy says that will hurt Arizona seniors who depend on Medicaid for nursing home care. She says the state's long term care system, known as ALTC, is successful because it tries to keep seniors in their homes as long as possible.
"The ALTC system here in Arizona is considered the gold seal for long term care because it delays nursing homes,” she points out. “We don't even have enough nursing homes, if we were to go to the block grant system."
A block grant is a fixed amount that each state can decide on its own how to spend.
Kennedy says the current Arizona program saves money because keeping seniors in their own homes is far less expensive than a nursing home.
She adds instead of giving tax breaks to drug makers and insurance companies, AARP thinks the plan should spend more on better and more affordable coverage.
get more stories like this via email
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a plan extending a natural-gas pipeline in Virginia. The Virginia Reliability Plan and Transcot's …
Today is Giving Tuesday, a day when millions of Americans are expected to make charitable donations. But it can also be a field day for scammers…
A new project in Southern Arizona aims to support local reporting and enable greater access to local news and information. Earlier this month…
As the weather turns colder, two groups of people in one North Dakota city that are generations apart appear to be in good shape to navigate housing …
Researchers are out with new findings they say show that death rates linked to air pollution from coal plants are underestimated. A Wisconsin …
Illinois high school seniors have new hurdles to overcome to get to college. High school students are waiting several extra weeks to get their hands …
Clean-energy companies and supporters are calling on federal officials to prioritize the development of charging infrastructure for EV powered medium …
Missouri's duck-hunting season runs through January, and many enthusiasts are concerned about how plentiful their future quarry will be because of a …