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New Ad Campaign on "Age Tax" Targets Sen. Heller

New TV ads highlight possible premium increases for seniors under the proposed American Health Care Act. (AARP)
New TV ads highlight possible premium increases for seniors under the proposed American Health Care Act. (AARP)
May 25, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- New television ads from AARP Nevada hit the airwaves Wednesday, targeting Sen. Dean Heller over what the group is calling an "age tax.”

The ads ask voters to call on Heller to reject the Republican health care bill because it allows insurers to charge people aged 50-64 five-times more than younger people, rather than three-times as much, which is permissible now. It also allows companies to raise rates significantly for those with pre-existing conditions.

AARP Nevada state director Maria Dent said the bill also reduces the tax credit that helps make coverage more affordable.

"The bill gives billions to drug and insurance companies while they're gouging people over 50,” Dent said. "These changes could cost you up to $13,000 or more a year."

Specifically, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that under the new version of the AHCA, a 64-year-old with an annual income of $26,500 who pays $1,700 per year now, would see costs skyrocket 800 percent - to $13,600.

Supporters of the AHCA point to findings from the CBO that premiums for young, healthy people would eventually go down, because the bill would allow companies to sell policies with fewer benefits.

Dent said she would like to see the Senate scrap the American Health Care Act altogether and start over, because many seniors are on fixed incomes and can't absorb a cost increase.

"Older Americans who are on limited incomes, they are already struggling to buy prescriptions, pay for their premiums,” she said. "Especially folks between 50 and 64 that have no insurance or no Medicare, will really be falling off, because they won't be able to afford it."

The CBO estimated that 23 million Americans would lose health coverage over the next ten years if the AHCA passes. The Senate currently is negotiating changes to the bill.

The ads are running in six states, and specifically target Heller, as well as Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV