As a conservative talk radio host in South Carolina said recently to me: “No one in our wealthy country should go bankrupt due to their health-care costs.” But that’s exactly what could happen to many in the Palmetto State if the bills making their way through Congress become law.
The Senate’s health-care bill would strip health care away from millions of older Americans and drive up costs for us all.
It would dramatically increase costs for people 50 and older, while giving billions in tax breaks to big drug companies and insurers.
It would allow insurers to charge older South Carolinians five times more than younger people. The current law already lets them charge older people three times more. As if that wasn’t enough, it also would let state lawmakers request a waiver to give insurance companies the power to charge older adults even more.
Changes to the way health-care tax credits are calculated would further penalize people in their 50s and 60s by reducing the number of people eligible for premium tax credits and reducing the amount of the tax credit available. Furthermore, the coverage that people can purchase with tax credits will be skimpier than what they can purchase under current law, which will result in significantly higher out-of-pocket costs. All of this amounts to an unaffordable age tax.
Medicaid funding would be cut even deeper than in the House bill, falling far below Medicaid historic growth rates, at a time when the number of older Americans is growing and needing greater coverage and services. This will force South Carolina to cut back or eliminate services such as home and community based services and reduce eligibility for coverage and services, leading to fewer doctors who are willing to take patients because reimbursements are too low.
These are just a few of the major reasons doctors, hospitals, health-care advocates and consumer groups oppose the Senate bill.
Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott have a choice. They can vote for the higher cost, less coverage health-care bill, or they can stand up for affordable health care for all South Carolinians. We’ve set up a toll free number to call your senators and share your concerns about the bill, at 1-844-259-9351.
State Director, AARP-South Carolina