CHA joined the Centers for Medicare Advocacy, Medicare Rights Center and Justice in Aging along with other organizations concerned about access to affordable, high-quality health care and long-term services and supports for older adults, people with disabilities, and their families, sent letters to Congressional leaders in both the House and the Senate on Friday, December 15th in opposition to the tax bill that is likely to be voted on this week. The letters reiterate the organizations’ strong opposition to any tax bill that would put at risk both health care and long-term care for older adults and people with disabilities.
The reported effects of the tax bill would be to explode the national deficit by at least $1 trillion, and potentially much more. This huge revenue shortfall will inevitably put Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other programs at risk for massive cuts. These are programs that millions of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families rely on. For example, more than 57 million older adults and people with disabilities rely on Medicare, including 11 million low-income beneficiaries who have both Medicare and Medicaid.
As currently reported, the tax bill would also repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, leading to an additional 13 million Americans uninsured. Such a repeal will increase insurance premiums for people with preexisting and chronic conditions, disproportionately affecting the 3.3 million adults over 55 who obtain insurance through the ACA marketplaces, and hurting their ability to afford health care.
The letters urge Congress to return to the drawing board. A bipartisan, transparent process for tax reform must take these issues into consideration and must include public hearings, open comments, multi-stakeholder meetings, and sufficient time for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the general public to analyze and understand the bill.