AARP Advocates Against Healthcare Reform Bills

Advocacy organization aims to stop Senators from passing healthcare reform, but HHS believes reform is necessary.

The nation’s largest advocacy group is lobbying legsilators in Washington, DC, to vote against the potential loss of health insurance for its members.

AARP recently announced that Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president of the organization, sent a letter to all Senators opposing bill HR 1628, which would repeal, but not replace, the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The letter reiterates the organization’s opinion against the American Healthcare Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) due to the potentially negative impact the bills could have on older Americans, according to a press release. The legislation would allow insurers to charge older adults up to 5 times as much as a younger adult.

“The repeal and delay amendment will destabilize the individual market and will have a devastating impact on Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 causing millions to lose coverage,” LeaMond said in a press release. “AARP calls on all Senators to vote ‘NO’ on the Motion to Proceed, and to reject the repeal and replace amendment and the BCRA. Instead, let’s all work together in a bipartisan way to strengthen our health care system for the millions of Americans who depend on it.”

AARP plans to monitor each vote on the bill, as well as potential future votes on the BCRA and the bill to repeal the ACA, according to the release. The organization also plans to report the votes of each individual senator to nearly 38 million AARP members.

In the letter, LeaMond wrote that older Americans care about the access and affordability of healthcare services and should be able to receive affordable premiums and out-of-pocket-costs; however, AARP does not believe that repealing the ACA without a replacement would result in benefits for this population.

AARP stated that this proposal would result in millions of Americans losing their health coverage. Additionally, premiums and out-of-pocket costs would skyrocket for older Americans who do not yet qualify for Medicare, according to the AARP.

The organization also alleges that repealing the ACA without a replacement plan would threaten coverage for older Americans and those with disabilities who are insured through Medicaid. The proposed $842 billion in cuts may shift costs to states, taxpayers, and individuals, according to the letter.

The best way forward may be to reach across the aisle to Democrats to craft new bipartisan legislation, according to the letter.

“We further urge you to work together to develop bipartisan health care legislation that ensures robust insurance market protections, lowers costs, improves quality, stabilizes markets and provides access to affordable coverage for all Americans,” LeaMond wrote. “AARP stands ready to assist in any way we can to craft such legislation.”

On the other side of the healthcare reform debate, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, MD, recently said that the ACA is not sustainable and healthcare reform is crucial.

“Obamacare is flawed, failing, and harming the American people with higher costs and fewer healthcare choices,” Dr Price said in a press release. “The Trump Administration is, and always will be, focused on putting patients, families, and doctors in charge of healthcare.”

Currently, the HHS is taking action to lower premiums and ensure access to healthcare. The department has previously voiced support for GOP efforts to repeal and replace the ACA.

“The status quo is not acceptable or sustainable,” Dr Price said. “We will work tirelessly to get Washington out of the way, bring down the cost of coverage, expand healthcare choices, and strengthen the safety net for future generations.”