Arlington, VA – The following is a statement from Howard Bedlin, NCOA Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy, on the Senate health care bill:
“For the seven million seniors and their families who rely on Medicaid to stay healthy and independent, the Senate health care bill is even more mean-spirited than the House-passed American Health Care Act.
“Over time, the Senate bill imposes even deeper cuts and caps on Medicaid than the House proposal. This will result in less care for people who need it most, lost jobs for health care workers, and greater hardships for families, especially in rural areas.
“In particular, the bill will pull the rug out from under millions of families who are struggling to keep their spouses, parents, and grandparents out of nursing homes. This is because states are required to pay for care in nursing homes, but care at home is optional. Overall, Medicaid covers 2 in 3 nursing home residents and pays for over 60 percent of Americans’ long-term care costs.
“Because the proposed caps do not adjust for an aging population, the nation’s oldest and most vulnerable seniors will be hit the hardest. People aged 85 and over are more likely to need expensive long-term care and it will cost the program 2.5 times more than those aged 65-74.
“Seniors and their families are counting on Congress to protect them. NCOA will be their voice and urge the Senate to reject this harmful legislation for our nation’s most vulnerable older Americans.”
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well. Since 1950, our mission has not changed: Improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. NCOA empowers people with the best solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and we strengthen government programs that we all depend on as we age. Every year, millions of people use our signature programs BenefitsCheckUp®, My Medicare Matters®, and the Aging Mastery Program® to age well. By offering online tools and collaborating with a nationwide network of partners, NCOA is working to improve the lives of 40 million older adults by 2030. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.