The Transylvania Times -

ACA Affects Medicare

 

Last updated 10/29/2020 at 8:45am



In a recent interview with “60 Minutes,” President Donald Trump expressed his desire for the U.S. Supreme Court to find the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

“I hope that they end it. It’ll be so good if they end it,” said Trump.

While much of the publicity on dismantling the Affordable Care Act has focused on coverage of pre-existing conditions, there are other aspects that would have significant impacts on Americans. One of those is Medicare.

At the present time, approximately 60 million Americans are covered under Medicare. If the ACA is abolished, Medicare recipients could have to pay more for preventive care services, which are now free; pay more for prescription drugs; and pay higher premiums and deductibles.

Under the ACA, there’s no copayment or deductible for preventive screenings for cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other illnesses. Flu shots and annual wellness visits are free. Prior to implementation of the ACA, Medicare beneficiaries had to pay 20 percent for most preventive care services, but they had to meet their deductible first.

Senior citizens would pay more while in the “doughnut hole.” When Medicare Part D was passed, seniors had to pay 100 percent of drug expenses while in the “doughnut hole.” Under the ACA, that payment was reduced to 25 percent.

Premiums and deductibles for Medicare recipients should increase. In the nine years prior to the passage of the ACA, premiums for Part B increased more than 110 percent. Since the ACA went into effect in 2011, Part B premiums have increased just 23 percent.

If the ACA is abolished, Medicare Advantage could become much more expensive. Under the ACA, Medicare Advantage plans are required to spend 85 percent of premium dollars on health care and those plans cannot charge more than traditional Medicare for chemotherapy, skilled nursing care and other services. As a result, premiums for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries have decreased. If the ACA is abolished, more money could be diverted to profits and administrative costs, meaning senior citizens would pay more for less.

Under the ACA, the growth of Medicare payments to providers slowed down substantially, thus making Medicare more viable longer term. If, however, the ACA is dismantled, the Congressional Budget Office estimates Medicare costs would increase $700 billion over 10 years, thus depleting Medicare’s funds and pushing it toward insolvency.

Medicare recipients would not be the only ones hurt if the ACA is abolished. People with pre-existing conditions may not be covered, and those 26 and younger could be removed from their parents’ insurance coverage. The millions who became insured under the ACA either through the expansion of Medicaid or by receiving federal subsidies so that they could afford insurance may once again find themselves uninsured.

The ACA has its flaws and steps should be taken to remove those flaws. However, to dismantle the program completely without having a better replacement – and the Trump administration has not provided any replacement plan in the last four years – is going cause millions of Americans to pay more for health care, and that includes the thousands of Transylvanians who receive their coverage through Medicare.

 
 

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