AGS troubled by Senate tax reform bill and its impact on older Americans
Disappointed by Senate passage of a tax reform proposal that could curtail critical supports for older Americans and threaten important gains securing health coverage for more Americans, experts at the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) continued to voice strong opposition to the bill and its impact on millions of older adults and caregivers.
"We remain deeply concerned about the impact of this flawed proposal–not only on federal programs important to older Americans but also on the availability of high-quality, person-centered, and affordable health care for us all as we age," noted AGS Chief Executive Officer Nancy Lundebjerg, MPA. "We at the AGS will continue to work tirelessly for solutions that can improve health, independence, and quality of life for all older Americans–despite the absence of these goals in the present proposal."
Independent analysts previously reported that both the House and Senate tax reform proposals could add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. "Pay-go rules" would trigger automatic cuts of $136 billion from mandatory spending programs in 2018, including roughly $25 billion cut from Medicare. Though Republican legislators have vowed to protect important programs like Medicare, they have yet to articulate a clear plan for supporting the nation's largest insurer–as well as countless other programs at risk for automatic cuts.
The Senate bill also would repeal the individual mandate supporting health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Congressional Budget Office previously estimated that removing the mandate would leave 13 million more Americans without insurance.
In light of these concerns, the AGS continues to call for stakeholder input, public hearings, and ample opportunities for feedback on health and tax reform from the American public. "Doing so," said Lundebjerg, "is our best chance for a future when all of us can have access to high-quality, person-centered, and affordable health care."
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has–for 75 years–worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.
Daniel E Trucil