The Senate leadership has taken the first dangerous step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act. Repeal of the ACA will pull the plug on the 30 million Americans who now depend on it for health care — not to mention the 57 million seniors and disabled who benefit every day from the ACA’s improvements to Medicare. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the ACA will cost Medicare some $800 billion over 10 years, which would undermine the solvency of the Medicare Part A Trust Fund. (According to the 2016 Medicare Trustees Report, the ACA has extended the solvency of the Part A Trust Fund by 11 years, to 2028.) Repeal also would eliminate preventative health screenings with no out of pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries (which the ACA mandated), and restore the Medicare Part D drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole.”
“America’s seniors will feel keenly the effects of an ACA repeal,” says Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. In a letter to all 100 U.S. Senators, Richtman explains, “Since the law’s enactment more than 11 million seniors and people with disabilities have received savings and discounts in the Part D donut hole of over $23.5 billion on prescription drugs, an average of $2,127 per beneficiary. In 2015 alone, an estimated 39.2 million people with Medicare took advantage of at least one preventive service with no copays or deductibles.”
In addition to Medicare beneficiaries, ACA repeal will hurt millions of “young seniors” ages 50-64 who depend on the health care law. Under the ACA, these individuals have been able to purchase private insurance even if they have pre-existing medical conditions. Premiums have been more affordable due to the law’s limits on age rating and the subsidies available for lower-income beneficiaries. If the ACA is repealed, the number of uninsured Americans in this 50-64 age group will increase, leaving them potentially in poorer health by the time they are eligible for Medicare. This pool of less healthy enrollees will drive up Medicare’s costs, which could threaten its long term solvency.