AARP of Louisiana

Remarks by Denise Bottcher, State Director of AARP Louisiana

Thank you to Louisiana Budget Project who is doing this really important work in shining the spotlight on how the AHCA will affect Louisianans across our state. The impact of the AHCA on older adults will devastate our families’ ability to care for their loved ones as they age, whether it's at home or in the community. Specifically, the bill reduces funding for Medicare. It will hasten the insolvency of Medicare, diminish Medicare’s ability to pay for services in the future, and basically shift the costs onto older adults.
The second thing the AHCA does which would devastate Louisianans’ ability to care for their aging adults in their families: it shifts the costs to older adults by raising the age tax. Currently, right now, older adults do pay more. They pay more in insurance by 3:1 of the average younger person. This bill would allow insurance companies to raise it 5:1. So you would be paying 5x the amount of a person who is younger. A 55 year old Louisianan earning $25,000 annually could see the proemium increase as much as $5,900. That’s in addition to what they already pay. That’s a lot of money. A 65 year old Louisianan who oftentimes is retired and unable to go back into the workforce to earn more money to pay higher premiums, would pay as much as $10,000 more on top of what they currently pay. This is not fair and it is something that Louisiana families cannot afford. They cannot afford higher premiums.
And finally, the bill devastates Medicaid as we know it. Older adults not only rely on Medicare for their healthcare insurance, but many rely on Medicaid for home and community based services to help them age in place, at home, in the community, with the support of family and friends. This would devastate our ability to be able to do that for our families. It would virtually be nonexistent. People would have to choose to be institutionalized in a nursing home instead of being cared for in their own home. So, we are urging Senators Kennedy and Cassidy to look at these numbers, to look at this report and the damage that this bill would do to our families across the state, and to step up and do the right thing. That is, to start over. Thank you.
Dylan Waguespack