AARP calls on lawmakers to reject 'harmful' Senate healthcare bill

AARP calls on lawmakers to reject 'harmful' Senate healthcare bill
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The AARP on Thursday slammed the Senate GOP healthcare draft bill, calling efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare "harmful" and denouncing what it calls an "Age Tax" affecting the nation's senior citizens.

The lobbying group for seniors accused Senate GOP leaders of crafting legislation in "secrecy" that "would hit millions of Americans with higher costs and result in less coverage for them."

“This new Senate bill was crafted in secrecy behind closed doors without a single hearing or open debate—and it shows. The Senate bill would hit millions of Americans with higher costs and result in less coverage for them," Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s executive vice president, said in a statement.

"AARP is adamantly opposed to the Age Tax, which would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more for coverage than everyone else while reducing tax credits that help make insurance more affordable," LeaMond continued.

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The GOP plan allows insurance companies to charge older adults up to five times more than younger people, while under ObamaCare older Americans can only be charged three times as much as younger people.

The lobbying group threatened to hold lawmakers "accountable" who vote in favor of the bill outlined Thursday.

“As we did with all 435 Members of the House of Representatives, AARP will also hold all 100 Senators accountable for their votes on this harmful health care bill. Our members care deeply about their health care and have told us repeatedly that they want to know where their elected officials stand. We strongly urge the Senate to reject this bill,” LeaMond wrote, referring to the group's similar war path against the House healthcare bill that passed through the lower chamber last month.

The nonprofit group said it is concerned by the legislation's proposed deep cuts to Medicaid, which "would strip health coverage from millions of low-income and vulnerable Americans who depend on the coverage, including 17 million poor seniors and children and adults with disabilities."

“The Senate bill also cuts funding for Medicare which weakens the programs ability to pay benefits and leaves the door wide open to benefit cuts and Medicare vouchers. AARP has long opposed proposals that cut benefits or weaken Medicare," LeaMond said.

AARP is a powerful lobbying force that also scored major healthcare wins during the passage of ObamaCare as well as its role in starting Medicare’s prescription drug benefit program.