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Seniors Urge Sen. Heller to Stand Strong Against Senate Health Plan

A new ad campaign out this week criticizes Medicaid cuts proposed under the current GOP health-care plan. (AARP)
A new ad campaign out this week criticizes Medicaid cuts proposed under the current GOP health-care plan. (AARP)
July 12, 2017

LAS VEGAS - Senior advocates are blanketing the airwaves this week with a new ad blitz meant to convince Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., to stick with his stated opposition to the Senate GOP health-care bill.

Heller is one of 10 Republican senators to speak out against the bill, but Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has promised a revised bill, possibly by the end of this week.

Maria Dent, AARP Nevada state director, said the Better Care Reconciliation Act contains what she called an "age tax" that means folks between ages 50 and 64 can be charged five times what younger people pay in premiums.

"We also know that a 64-year-old Nevadan who earns about $25,000 a year would see premiums increase to almost $11,000 - like, $10,970," she said, "and you're talking about almost half of their paycheck going into premiums."

The latest version of the bill includes massive cuts to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. which together cover three in five nursing-home residents and two in five people with disabilities in Nevada.

Supporters of the bill say it will lift the government mandate to buy health insurance and bring down premiums for healthy people by allowing lower-cost plans that offer fewer benefits. However, Dent said the legislation moves people younger than 65 with pre-existing medical conditions into high-risk pools that likely would have much higher premiums, pricing many people out of the market for health insurance.

"About 439,000 Nevadans under 65 years old have a pre-existing condition, and, you know, that's 25 percent of the population," she said. "We're talking about diabetes, cancer and heart disease."

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., also is opposed to the bill. President Trump has called on the Senate to pass a health-care bill before the August recess, which now has been delayed by two weeks.

The Congressional Budget Office analysis of the BRCA is online at

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV