From the Chair: Healthcare in America

Medicare works wonders for millions of Americans, providing affordable access to today’s most
advanced health care. Poll after poll invariably confirms its popularity. But will Medicare continue to
work for all of us and future generations? That’s a question we need to ask our congressman Tom

According to the Alliance for Retired Americans, House Speaker Paul Ryan and the leadership in
congress want to make massive changes to our health care. They are working with president Trump
to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, at the same time want to reform Medicare and
Medicaid. Their plans include massive cuts and rationed care, but they are using deceptive tactics
with misleading language to make their proposals sound more acceptable.

Don’t be fooled by such tactics and words such as “premium support,” “vouchers” and “coupons.”
Instead of guaranteed benefits, seniors would get a voucher or coupon of limited value to use toward
buying insurance. The coupons would be insufficient to cover the level of benefits in traditional
Medicare, and retirees would be required to pay more to get sufficient coverage.

Access to health care is not real if that care is not affordable. Speaker Ryan and our new U.S.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price talk a lot about ensuring access to health care,
but they say little about keeping health care affordable. That’s because their plans would remove
some of the current provisions designed to keep costs in check.

They say the way to protect Medicare for future generations is to raise the eligibility age for Medicare
to age 67 or older. They actually want to take care away from millions of Americans by raising the
eligibility age starting in 2020.

When they talk about “means testing,” it means the middle class would pay more. Speaker Ryan
wants to increase the number of seniors subject to means testing from 5 percent to 25 percent. This
would mean a middle-class senior with an income of $47,000 would pay a higher premium.

Under the failed House GOP American Health Care Act (AHCA), the debate involved the terms
“block grant” and “per capita caps” and the effect of these changes would amount to rationing care
Medicaid block grants and per capita caps refer to how federal Medicaid support would be calculated
for each state and how that funding would be given to each state. It would fundamentally change
Medicaid and cut federal health care payments to states by more than $1 trillion over 10 years.
Additionally, the failed AHCA was estimated to cost New York State $2.3 billion and jeopardize the
health care of 24 million state residents.

States would be forced to choose between: raising state taxes; or limiting the number of people
eligible to receive Medicaid coverage; or limiting the amount of care each person would get. Millions
of seniors would lose basic health care, mental health care and nursing home coverage. And many
younger adults and children who also depend on Medicaid could lose their health care as well.
Stand up for Medicare and Medicaid. Visit, call or write Tom Reed and tell him not to privatize
Medicare or cut Medicaid.

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