The American Health Care Act Won’t Keep Pace with Aging Seniors
June 14, 2017 02:49 PM
The American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican party’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) will jeopardize long-term service and support (LTSS) for millions of seniors as America’s “silver tsunami” of aging baby boomers overwhelms the planned sharp reductions in the Medicaid program, according to a new report.
Concerns about how the steep Medicaid cuts in the AHCA would impact vulnerable populations like the elderly is a concern NAHC has raised itself. From NAHC Report on May 25th, for example:
These proposals will sharply reduce access to health care for the 74 million vulnerable children, seniors, people with disabilities, working adults and others that rely on Medicaid for high quality, affordable health coverage and care.
The AHCA calls for $800 billion in Medicaid cuts and the Trump administration is budgeting for another $616 billion in Medicaid cuts on top of that, for a total of over $1.4 trillion in cuts to Medicaid funding.
Under AHCA rules, states must choose to take a block grant of Medicaid money each year or create a per-capita cap in which the state receives a set amount of Medicaid money for each beneficiary. The problem, as noted by NAHC and this new report from AARP, is that the per capita cap values would increase at a fixed rate based on average costs in 2016, which is very likely to be not nearly enough to keep pace with medical inflation and the increasingly large population of senior citizens, which grows by an average of 10,000 per day.
What’s more, as people live longer, the costs go up – an 85-year-old Medicaid recipient costs more than twice as much as a Medicaid recipients in the 65-74 age range.. The oldest senior citizens, those at least 85 years of age, will be an increasingly large percentage of the overall senior population (almost 34 percent in 2050, compared to about 22 percent today), leading to an expected increase in need for health care and money to pay for it.
“Given these data, it is very unlikely that the per capita cap allotment set under the AHCA will be able to keep pace with the needs of low-income adults as they age into their eighties and beyond,” write the authors of the report.. “Over time, states will not have adequate funding to serve an increase in—and an aging of—the 65+ population.”
The report states in its conclusion that “the aging of the 65+ population, which is not accounted for in AHCA’s Medicaid financing structure, will hit states hard, potentially jeopardizing access to health care and LTSS for future generations, especially Boomers.”
NAHC and virtually all other organizations devoted to health care in this country remain opposed to the AHCA in its current form and we urge the Senate to reject draconian cuts in Medicaid – cuts that will inevitably affect millions of Americans who are also on Medicare