Seniors Forgotten Under Graham-Cassidy
Ihope by the time you read this the U.S. Senate will have scrapped its ill-conceived bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
I do not use the phrase “ill-conceived” lightly. As written, the Graham-Cassidy bill — drafted by U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — would gut the Medicaid expansion, the individual and employer mandates, and the subsidies to help people afford insurance. It would take money away from those programs and give some of it back to the states in the form of block grants. In time, stagnant and/or diminishing funds, and higher medical expenses would factor in and shift costs to states, Medicaid enrollees and their families.
Despite what its sponsors tell you, Graham-Cassidy offers no guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. According to analysts, including researchers in the AARP Public Policy Institute, Graham-Cassidy would allow the states receiving block grants to waive essential for people with pre-existing conditions.
People with disabilities and their families would be at great risk, as the government would set a per-capita cap on Medicaid dollars. If you spend up to your cap before the allotted time runs out, you’re on your own.
The elderly would take it on the chin. According to AARP, “The bill eliminates - tance — 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 bill may also allow states to charge older adults … than under current law on the basis of their age, by waiving federal protections that limit the practice known as age rating.”
Take a look at the chart above to see how seniors in Hawai‘i might fare, according to AARP. Under current law, a 60-year-old making $25,000 a year would pay an average of $1,608 in 2020. Under Graham-Cassidy, Hawai‘i seniors could see their premiums increase a whopping $10,410 by 2020.
Both Hawai‘i Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz are against Graham-Cassidy.
Just how bad is this bill? As of this writing, Medicaid directors of all 50 states have issued a warning about Graham-Cassidy, saying it would place an enormous burden on the states.
And look at the organizations opposed to it. The medical and insurance heavyweights are united in saying the bill will hurt millions of people. The list includes AARP, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and March of Dimes.
Insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, which includes under its umbrella lo - ential insurance lobby America’s Health Insurance Plans.
As I write this, 11 governors - one independent.
I sincerely hope Sen. McConnell makes my column obsolete by the time you see it by dropping this crazy bill. Most Americans would rather not see their health care blown up, thank you very much.
Why are most of Gra- ham-Cassidy’s supporters politicians? Why are most of Graham-Cassidy’s opponents ordinary citizens and almost all major medical, social and insurance organizations?
And why, why, why do we over and over again?
Premiums for the elderly would increase by thousands of dollars under the Graham-Cassidy bill.