Recent attacks on the nation's new health care law underscore how divided and confused Americans are by the law and the impact it will have on them individually and on the country. We recognize there are serious arguments on both sides of this debate. We have analyzed them carefully and conclude that the Affordable Care Act will help millions of Americans afford insurance coverage, will strengthen Medicare and will add new benefits and protections that will help you and your family.
That's why AARP strongly opposes efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
It includes many important benefits that are already improving health care for older Americans and their families:
- It strengthens Medicare by lowering drug costs for seniors in the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" and by adding free preventive services. It also cracks down on waste and fraud while prohibiting any cuts to your guaranteed benefits.
- It improves insurance coverage, especially for those with preexisting conditions, who can no longer be denied coverage.
- It expands coverage by allowing parents to keep their children on their policies until age 26.
- It makes insurance more affordable by providing tax breaks and establishing state "exchanges" to provide greater choice and transparency for individuals and small businesses.
- It gives Americans a new option to plan and pay for the cost of long-term services through a voluntary insurance program known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act would eliminate these important improvements and, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would add to our deficit and national debt, not decrease it. AARP is not alone. The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, as well as many women's health organizations, patient groups and others, object to repealing the law.
We have two goals at AARP: To ensure that the new law is implemented at the federal and state levels to garner maximum benefits for all Americans, and to ensure that they understand what the law means for them and how to make the best health care decisions.
These benefits vanish if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Instead, doughnut hole charges soar. Those with preexisting conditions lose coverage. Preventive counseling and services disappear. Millions of young adults lose coverage. Insurance companies have free rein to deny coverage and raise rates against the ill and older people. And millions of small businesses will lose tax credits that are helping them provide their employees with health care coverage for the first time.
This is what's at stake in this debate. AARP will continue to fight to make sure that we do not regress to the health insurance practices of the past that ultimately drive up costs and do more harm than good.