Advocacy Alert: Tell Congress to Say NO to Medicaid Cuts and Higher Costs for Seniors in Health Care Bill

 Tell Congress to Say NO to:

Medicaid Cuts and Higher Costs for Seniors in Health Care Bill

 March 23, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives is planning to vote today on the first of several measures to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill also makes major changes to Medicaid by shifting the current federal-state funding formula to a per-capita cap structure.

LifeStream Services is opposing this bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), as it does not adequately address the health care needs of older Americans. The AHCA undermines federal support for Medicaid, weakening this key health and long-term care safety net. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the bill would cut $880 billion from Medicaid and jeopardize health care coverage for 24 million people.

Please reach out to your Members of Congress immediately to share your concerns with this legislation! Congress must hear from seniors, caregivers, service providers and other stakeholders about the importance of life-saving home and community-based services in Medicaid. They need to hear from advocates about how this bill would increase the cost of health insurance for older adults not yet on Medicare.


How to Take Action:

  • Put Your Concerns in Writing.

If you can, put your concerns in a letter then fax it to your Representatives and Senators. You can also email, but a fax will draw more notice. You can find your Members’ fax numbers on their websites (www.house.gov and www.senate.gov) and you can email them right from that same site.

AND/OR

  • Make a Few Short Phone Calls.

Phone lines are busy these days, but if you’d rather call than write your Senators and Representative, this is an easy way to be heard! To reach Congress: either use the Capitol Switchboard (202.224.3121) to reach DC offices, or look up your Members’ district office phone numbers on their websites.

Congress Contact Information for Our Seven Counties:

  • Representative Jim Banks, 3rd District

Washington, D.C. Office: 509 Cannon House Office Building

Phone: 202-225-4436

Fax: 202-226-9870

  • Representative Susan Brooks, 5th District

Washington, D.C. Office: 1030 Longworth House Office Building

Phone: 202-225-2276

Fax: 202-225-0016

  • Representative Luke Messer, 6th District

Washington, D.C. Office: 1230 Longworth House Office Building

Phone: 202-225-3021

Fax: 202-225-3382

  • Senator Joe Donnelly

Washington D.C. Office: 720 Hart Senate Office Building

Phone: 202-224-4814

Fax: 202-224-5011

Email Form: https://www.donnelly.senate.gov/contact/email-joe

  • Senator Todd Young

Washington D.C. Office: B33 Russell Senate Office Building

Phone: 202-224-5623

Fax: 202-228-1820

Email Form: https://www.young.senate.gov/content/contact-senator

To find Representatives from other districts outside of our service area please visit: www.govtrack.us

Key Things to Know about AHCA / Talking Points:  

Medicaid is Critical to the Health and Well-Being of Many Older Adults

  • AHCA cuts Medicaid, both acute care and long-term care. It does this by capping the amount of money the federal government contributes to Medicaid, which means states will be on the hook to cover federal cuts. States cannot absorb these costs!
  • Total Medicaid cuts are $880 billion over 10 years. We believe this will undermine access to long-term care like nursing homes or home and community-based services and supports!
  • Medicaid pays 60 percent of long-term care—more than any other source!
  • LifeStream Services provides transportation, in-home care management, senior meal delivery, senior café sites, wellness programs, and much more to over 13,311 senior citizens in East Central Indiana. These services help improve the quality of life for seniors to help them remain in their homes.
  • The cuts in AHCA could result in higher Medicaid costs and reduced care, including co-pays and premiums for consumers, waiting lists for services.
  • We must preserve Medicaid’s safety net guarantee in order to keep older adults healthy and living safely in their homes and communities!

Older Adults Should Not Be Penalized for their Age

  • AHCA rolls back Affordable Care Act protections that cap how much more insurers can charge older consumers than younger ones.
  • This means adults age 55-64 could pay five times, or more, for their insurance premiums.
  • If this age group goes under or uninsured, they are often sicker when they reach Medicare eligibility—only increasing Medicare costs in the long run.

Do No Harm to Medicare

  • Although AHCA dramatically changes Medicaid, it does not make major changes to Medicare.
  • But the bill eliminates ACA revenue measures that have extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund.
  • This means Medicare would be insolvent four years earlier than experts previously thought (to 2024 instead of 2028).

Sample Letter or Email:

Dear Representative [LAST NAME]:

I am writing to express my concern about and ask you to vote against the American Health Care Act.

[IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A CONSTITUENT AND SHARE ANY RELEVANT PERSONAL INFORMATION YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE SHARING. For example, “I live in the town of Gillis with my husband who is living with Alzheimer’s. I am his primary caregiver, but he also receives in-home services from Medicaid which allows us to be able to stay in our home of 45 years.”]

I understand this bill would change the way that Medicaid is funded and that could lead to significant cuts to the health and long-term care programs many older Americans and their families rely upon. That just doesn’t make sense. With more Americans living longer, we should be investing in our safety net programs like Medicaid at a time like this, not cutting them!

I am also concerned that the bill would make it harder for older adults who are not yet 65 to get affordable insurance. If people reach Medicare eligibility in poorer health, that only drives up Medicare costs in the long run.

Given our nation’s aging population, the bill should not do anything to weaken the fiscal stability of Medicare. Yet this bill would speed up the financial threat Medicare faces by several years by giving a tax break to companies and the very wealthy.

[REMEMBER TO ADD YOUR OWN THOUGHTS, EXPERIENCES WITH HEALTH CARE OR LONG-TERM CARE, OR STORIES YOU CAN SHARE OF OTHERS’ EXPERIENCES]

I am asking you to oppose the AHCA. Please ensure that any new health care legislation does not cut Medicaid, drive up costs for seniors who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare, or take money from Medicare. I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME and FULL MAILING ADDRESS]

 

For more information, contact LifeStream Services by calling 765-759-1121 or the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) in Washington, DC: www.n4a.org, 202.872.0888.