AARP supports Family Caregivers Act

Caregivers photoAARP supports Family Caregivers Act

Special from PRNewsWire

WASHINGTON–AARP announced its support of the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage Family Caregivers Act that would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The legislation (S. 1028) was introduced earlier this month in the U.S. Senate by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).   

“AARP appreciates the leadership of Senators Collins and Baldwin on the RAISE Family Caregivers Act and we urge Congress to get behind this commonsense, bipartisan step to recognize and support our nation’s more than 40 million family caregivers,” said AARP Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy A. LeaMond. “Every day, these ordinary Americans take on extraordinary physical, emotional and financial challenges as they help their parents, spouses, children and adults with disabilities, and other loved ones live independently at home and in their communities —and out of costly nursing homes, saving taxpayer dollars.” 

The nation’s family caregivers provide help with eating, bathing, dressing, transportation, medical tasks, managing finances, and more—unpaid care that is valued at around $470 billion annually, more than the entire Medicaid program in 2013. “The RAISE Family Caregivers Act will help elevate the contributions of these unsung heroes, and identify support to help make their big responsibilities a little bit easier,” said LeaMond.

The legislation would create an advisory council of representatives from the private and public sectors, including family caregivers, older adults and people with disabilities, health care providers, employers, state and local officials, and others to make recommendations regarding the national strategy. The advisory council meetings would be open to the public with opportunities for public input. The strategy would identify specific actions that communities, health care providers, employers, government, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers. 

By Anare Holmes

New House Health Plan Is Making More Waves

New House Health Plan Is Making More Waves

By Kristina Mancino

Last month, The American Health Care Act (AHCA) was shut down due to severe bipartisan opposition, even though the AHCA was heavily being pushed onto Americans by President Donald Trump. This week, the highly controversial American Health Care Act resurfaced with yet another arguable feature. The new installment would allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums for those who have preexisting conditions like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.

This latest amendment, which helped the bill gain the support of a majority of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, shows a dramatic change from the current law that hinders insurers from discriminating against people with preexisting health conditions. However, not all are praising the new addition, it has raised concerns among Republican moderates, Democrats and consumer groups. This new bill future remains highly uncertain.

AARP released a statement saying that they “continue to oppose legislation that would impose an age tax, eliminate protections for preexisting conditions, weaken Medicare, erode seniors’ ability to live independently because of billions of dollars in Medicaid cuts, and give sweetheart deals to drug and insurance companies while doing nothing to lower the cost of health care or prescription drugs.”

On Wednesday, AARP sent a letter to each member of the House, reiterating its pledge to make sure all it’s 38 millions members know exactly how their representatives votes on this bill.

AARP stands by its members and making sure the House knows that allowing insurance companies to charge prohibitively high rates for people with prior health issues would hit especial hard for those older adults, most who are too young to qualify for Medicare. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI), 40 percent of Americans ages 50 to 64 a total of 25 millions people have a preexisting condition.

If you remember the last month’s version of the AHCA, the disputed age tax would have raised the limit for older Americans to pay five times for than a younger consumer. Under the current law, older consumers cannot be charged more than three time the amount of younger consumers, by insurers. This latest version eliminates the limit entirely, giving insurers the options to charge older Americans a much higher rate.

States that want to allow insurers to charge more for people with preexisting conditions would have to have a high-risk pool program or a reinsurance program. For any consumer who would have to buy coverage in a high-risk pool, AARP’s PPI projects the premium could reach as high as $25,700 a year in 2019, which is when this provision would go into effect if the House allows the bill to go through.

As we already know, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was put on hold last month after the Congressional Budget Office claimed, over the next decade, 24 million American would lose coverage with the legislation. They also concluded there would be a hefty increase in premiums for people ages 50 to 64.

Medicare’s finances would worsen and the war on raising costs of prescriptions drugs would not be reduced. AARP said, “the legislation would provide a windfall for special interests in the healthcare industry, including insurers and drugmakers.”

If you would like to tell your congressional representatives to vote no, you can do so through a letter online.