Seniors’ access to quality, affordable healthcare has never been at greater risk than now. Despite the growth in coverage among Nevada seniors under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Republicans in Washington met behind closed doors to craft a bill that will rob seniors of accessible healthcaress. Although the ACA is not perfect, the two bills supported by the Republicans, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), are not the answer. Instead of addressing current healthcare issues by improving the ACA, these bills strives to implode the American healthcare system. They will provide tax breaks for the rich at the cost of the health—even the lives—of hardworking Americans who depend on health insurance for preventative care, medication, treatment, hospice care, and other basic needs.
If Republicans get their way, nearly 400,000 Nevadans who gained healthcare coverage under the ACA will be at risk of losing it. Additionally, the AHCA will undo the ACA’s protections for individuals with preexisting conditions and once again allow insurance companies to charge Americans more –estimated by the AARP to be as much as $25,000 more – due to a pre-existing condition. For those who manage to keep their healthcare coverage, costs will skyrocket—especially for seniors. The AHCA and BCRA’s “age tax” will allow insurers to charge older Nevadans five times as much as younger Nevadans. For example, a 60-year-old senior from Elko County earning $30,000 per year would pay $15,100 per year for insurance after tax credits under the AHCA, while only paying $2,480 per year under the ACA.
The future of affordable healthcare for Nevada seniors is now at the whim of Senate Republicans. Their refusal to hold public hearings and their insistence on working in secret show how keenly aware they are of their bill’s disconnection from the needs of seniors. Nevadans can should ensure their voices are heard by calling, writing, and emailing their senators and representatives. Stripping healthcare from seniors is unjust, callous, and morally reprehensible. I stand with Nevada seniors in protecting quality affordable healthcare. It is simply the right thing to do. +