GOP health plan moves forward, moving seniors closer to higher insurance rates, lower access to healthcare, analysts say

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan

Seniors just shy of Medicare eligibility age could find their ability to pay for future long-term care services stymied due to projected rises in health insurance costs that would come under the House GOP's healthcare plan, analysts say.

The House may vote on the American Health Care Act this week. But many remained concerned that, by 2026, the premium costs for a 64-year-old making $26,500 would increase to $14,600 a year, according to a Congressional Budget Office report.

The projected rise is why Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she could not support the measure.

“This bill doesn't come close to achieving the goal of allowing low-income seniors to purchase health insurance,” Collins said, according to the media outlet The Hill.

While a dozen GOP lawmakers have given a firm “No” to the bill in its current form, with another 11 leaning against, some lawmakers have countered by saying the CBO's numbers are wrong.

In a separate report, the AARP noted that more than three million seniors aged 50 to 64 receive Affordable Care Act subsidies. Of that group, 1.4 million were previously uninsured.

“ACA tax credits are critical to ensuring coverage for older adults and have contributed to a significant improvement in the uninsured rate among this age group,” the report states.

One bright spot for providers is that, should the plan pass, the number of uninsured people would rise while the number on Medicaid rolls would drop. Accordingly, the CBO “estimates that Medicare spending would increase by $43 billion over the 2018-2026 period,” the report states.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) spent much of last week defending both the bill and courting enough votes to have it pass the House. He has acknowledged that changes are needed. The Rules Committee will consider amendments to the bill this week before sending it to the House floor.

President Donald Trump reiterated his support for the bill Friday amid reports that some of his allies are telling him to distance himself from Ryan and the bill.