“AARP is deeply disappointed in today’s vote by the House to pass this deeply flawed health bill,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “The bill will put an age tax on us, harming millions of American families with health insurance, forcing many to lose coverage or pay thousands of dollars more for health care. In addition, the bill now puts at risk the 25 million older adults with preexisting conditions, such as cancer and diabetes, who would likely find health care unaffordable or unavailable to them.”
Pulled from House consideration in March when it lacked sufficient votes for passage, the legislation found new life through an amendment permitting states to request waivers that would allow insurers to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions. That would be a dramatic departure from the protections of current law. Twenty-five million people ages 50-64 have a preexisting condition and would face much higher premiums — thousands of dollars a year — that in many cases would be unaffordable.
While supporters of the bill maintained that people with preexisting conditions could be cared for through high-risk pools, an analysis by AARP’s Public Policy Institute found that premiums in such pools could reach unaffordable levels — as much as $25,700 a year in 2019. In the past, high-risk pools have put such an onerous financial burden on states that insurance benefits were scaled back and enrollment in them was capped.