Yesterday, Community Catalyst Action Fund released a devastating new report, looking at the impact of implementing Scott Brown’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) lowers seniors’ Medicare costs by cutting excess Medicare spending such as overpayments to private insurance companies, by providing no-cost preventive care, and by helping seniors cover their prescription drug costs.
If the ACA is repealed, Bay State seniors will pay hundreds of dollars more in premiums and cost-sharing each year, largely to restore unnecessary payments to health insurance companies and to hospitals and other providers. They once again will be required to pay cost-sharing for important preventive services. These changes would cost the average Massachusetts Medicare beneficiary nearly $5,000 over the next decade.
Tens of thousands of Massachusetts seniors with high prescription drug use would pay even more after repeal. Because they no longer will be protected against the donut hole coverage gap, repeal would cost them nearly $17,000 over the next decade, or $1,700 each year.
The reports provides details on where the savings come from. First, seniors in Massachusetts pay premiums based on the overall cost of the program, as well as deductibles and coinsurance. By reducing overpayments to insurers, cutting payments to some providers and incentivizing higher quality care, the ACA creates direct savings for seniors. This will save seniors hundreds of dollars per year.
Seniors will also save by closing the infamous prescription drug benefit “donut hole.” Already, more than 60,000 Massachusetts Medicare beneficiaries with high prescription drug use are saving on their drug costs. For those hitting the donut hole, these savings will average $1,700 per year over the next 10 years.
In addition to raising their costs, repeal of the ACA would take away expanded benefits added to Medicare by the law, including free preventive care services. These changes mean seniors can now get many important preventive services, such as screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol, and cancer, as well as vaccinations, at no cost. These changes do more than save money, they will save lives.
Senator Brown has repeatedly promised to vote to repeal the ACA. The bottom line is, by repealing the Affordable Care Act, Scott Brown would raise senior’s health care costs by $500 a year. Let’s make sure this information gets out to everyone concerned about seniors and health care.