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2017 Archives: Health and Family

AARP correspondence to lawmakers and regulators

The following documents related to health care concerns of people 50-plus are presented in reverse chronological order.

November

L: On November 15, 2017 AARP, along with a group of other organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance expressing collective support for amendment number 288 (Bennet 9), the Credit for Caring Act (S. 1151), urging the Committee to include this family caregiver tax credit in the final tax reform package.  The Credit for Caring Act would create a new, non-refundable federal tax credit of up to $3,000 for eligible family caregivers to help address the financial challenges of caregiving. (PDF)

L: On November 8, 2017 a coalition of organizations, including AARP, sent a letter to the entire U.S. Senate expressing support for the Medical Expense Deduction and urged Senators to protect the deduction in any forthcoming tax reform legislation.  For the approximately 8.8 million Americans who annually take this deduction, it provides important tax relief which helps offset the costs of acute and chronic medical conditions for older Americans, children, pregnant women and other adults as well as the costs associated with long term care and assisted living. (PDF)

L: On November 7, 2017 a coalition of organizations, including AARP, sent a letter to the entire U.S. House of Representatives expressing opposition to H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  The coalition urged Congress to restore the Medical Expense Deduction and continue to support millions of middle class Americans with high health care costs. (PDF)

L: On November 2, 2017 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. House of Representatives supporting the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the essential role it plays in providing affordable health coverage to working families for over 8 million children, including the thousands of grandparents raising grandchildren under the age of 18.  HOWEVER, AARP strongly opposes section 403 of the “CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS ACT” (H.R. 3922) that unfairly and inappropriately offsets some of the program’s costs by shifting those costs onto older Americans in Medicare. (PDF)

September

L: On September 19, 2017 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. Senate urging senators to vote NO on the Graham/Cassidy health care bill.  Older Americans need and deserve affordable premiums, lower out-of-pocket costs, and coverage they can count on as they age.  AARP urged the Senate to reject the Graham/Cassidy/Heller/Johnson bill because as it would do precisely the opposite. Overall, the Graham/Cassidy/Heller/Johnson bill would increase health care costs for older Americans with an age tax, decrease coverage, and undermine pre-existing condition protections. In addition, this bill would jeopardize the ability of older Americans and people with disabilities to stay in their own homes as they age and threaten coverage for individuals in nursing homes. (PDF)

S: On September 12, 2017 AARP submitted to Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden of the Senate Committee on Finance our priorities for protecting and strengthening our health care system and the coverage that millions of Americans depend on. (PDF)

S: On September 12, 2017 AARP submitted to Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions our priorities for protecting and strengthening our health care system and the coverage that millions of Americans depend on. (PDF)

August

C: On August 3, 2017 AARP submitted comments to Seema Verma, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expressing grave concerns about and opposition to the CMS proposed rule revising the requirements that long-term care (LTC) facilities, also referred to as skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities, must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  AARP is alarmed that CMS’ decision to remove provisions prohibiting binding pre-dispute arbitration will very likely have dangerous and harmful impacts on nursing facility residents, as well as their families, and place them at even greater risk than they faced before CMS addressed this issue in 2016. (PDF)

L: On August 3, 2017 AARP sent a letter to the entire Congress encouraging them to focus on commonsense solutions for health care.  AARP believes Congress should focus on commonsense, bipartisan solutions that will increase coverage, lower costs, stabilize markets, and improve care.  AARP is encouraged by recent comments that Congress may begin to examine solutions and work on a bipartisan basis towards these goals. (PDF)

July

L: – On July 27, 2017 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. Senate urging all Senators to vote NO on the “skinny” repeal bill.  The bill will leave millions uninsured, destabilize the health insurance market and lead to spikes in the cost of premiums. The CBO confirms that the provisions of the reported “skinny” repeal bill will lead to 16 million Americans losing their health coverage, including 4 million Americans who will lose employer-sponsored coverage. The result will be higher health care costs and fewer choices for millions of older Americans. (PDF)

L: – On July 20, 2017 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. Senate urging senators to vote NO on the Motion to Proceed, to reject the repeal and replace amendment and the Better Care Reconciliation Act.  In the letter, we expressed that older Americans care deeply about access to and affordability of health care. They need and deserve affordable premiums, lower out of pocket costs, and coverage they can count on as they age. The repeal and delay amendment to H.R. 1628 fails to achieve these goals. (PDF)

June

L: – On June 27, 2017 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. Senate urging a no vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, expressing strong opposition to the legislation.  In the letter, AARP let Senators know that Older Americans care deeply about access to and affordability of health care. They need and deserve affordable premiums, lower out of pocket costs, and coverage they can count on as they age. The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) does not achieve these goals. In fact, under the BCRA, premiums and out of pocket costs for 50-64 year olds buying their own insurance would skyrocket, Medicaid coverage for millions of seniors and people with disabilities would be at risk and the fiscal sustainability of Medicare would be weakened. In total, 22 million Americans would lose insurance coverage. (PDF)

L: – On June 1, 2017 AARP sent a letter to House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Pat Tiberi and Ranking Member Sander Levin in response to a hearing held on May 18, 2017 on the Medicare program, changes needed to Medicare’s payment systems, and Medicare programs that are set to expire before the end of the year.  AARP agrees that health care spending generally needs to be slowed in order to preserve the program for future generations. Growing spending on health care has strained the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund (Part A) and has required an increasingly larger portion of general revenues (Parts B and D).   AARP believes Congress must address the underlying causes of high health care spending, and not shift the financial burden onto older Americans and others who depend on Medicare for their health security.  (PDF)

May

L: On May 3, 2017 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. House of Representatives opposing the Upton amendment, as reported, to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), urging them all to vote NO. Changes under consideration that would allow states to waive important consumer protections -- allowing insurance companies to once again charge Americans with pre-existing conditions more because they’ve had cancer, diabetes or heart disease -- would make a bad bill even worse. This would be devastating for the 25 million Americans 50-64 who have a deniable pre-existing condition. The Upton amendment would do little to reduce the massive premium increases for those with pre-existing conditions.  (PDF)

L: On May 4, 2017, AARP sent a letter to Senators Collins (R-ME) and Baldwin (D-WI) endorsing the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1028). This bipartisan bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill would also establish an advisory body to bring together representatives from both the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations. The strategy would identify specific actions that communities, providers, employers, government, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers.  (PDF)

L: On Monday, May 15, 2017 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. Senate concerning the Senate’s consideration of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as passed by the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017.  In the letter, AARP asked Senators to oppose this harmful bill.  AARP strongly opposes the AHCA due to the devastating impact the bill would have on Americans age 50 and older. (PDF)

March

L: On March 7, 2017 AARP sent a letter to House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, and House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Ranking Member Richard Neal to express opposition to the American Health Care Act. This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64, and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services and supports and other benefits.  (PDF)

February

L: On February 1, 2017 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX) of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health.  In this letter, AARP expressed concern with regard to the proposed State Age Rating Flexibility Act of 2017.  AARP is concerned that it would loosen age rating bands to allow insurers to charge older Americans significantly more for health insurance, and would severely limit, not expand, access to quality, affordable healthcare. (PDF)

January

L: On January 30, 2017 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Tim Murphy and Ranking Member Diane DeGette of the House Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations concerning a hearing on Medicaid Oversight: “Existing Problems and Ways to Strengthen the Program.”  In the letter, AARP opposing Medicaid block grants and per capita caps because of concerns that such proposals will endanger the health, safety, and care of millions of individuals who depend on the essential services provided through Medicaid. (PDF)

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