rika Snyder thought she was in the clear. An Obamacare policy covered surgery to remove a tumor from her lungs, leaving her with minimal costs for the $200,000 ordeal and a chance for a manageable semi-retirement.

But now, the 63-year-old Denver resident said she is not just worried about the cancer coming back. She’s afraid that passage of the House Republican’s plan to repeal Obamacare will leave her with no coverage if it does.

“I can’t imagine being in a situation where I’d have to get chemo,” said Snyder, who collects early Social Security and works part-time at a greenhouse. “I mean, what are we supposed to do?”


Just shy of Medicare eligibility, Snyder is part of the age 50 to 64 demographic that would face much higher insurance costs under the GOP plan, known as the American Health Care Act. The law would eliminate Obamacare subsidies that 3 million Americans in that age bracket currently rely on to purchase insurance. It would also allow insurers to charge older people up to 5 times as much as younger Americans for individual policies, while providing an age-based tax credit that experts say would fall far short of covering these additional costs.

Although the changes would be phased in over time, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts the law’s passage would have an immediate impact, causing 14 million people to lose coverage next year. By 2026, as the number of people losing coverage jumps to 24 million, premium costs for a 64-year-old making $26,500 a year would increase to $14,600 under the replacement plan, compared to $1,700 under the current law, according to the CBO.

The proposed legislation narrowly passed a committee vote Thursday amid opposition from conservative members who said it does not go far enough to dismantle Obamacare. It is expected to come up for a vote on the House floor next week.

Meanwhile, many older Americans, who have paid Medicare taxes for years on the promise of having that safety net down the line, are postponing retirement plans to cling to jobs that provide insurance coverage. For some who are staring down chronic diseases and other health problems, the costs of paying for health insurance before Medicare eligibility could undermine their financial stability before they even reach retirement age.

Peter Crowe, 50, is hoping to keep his teaching job, but he also suffers from Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue and often leads to heart problems and an array of other complications. “I hope to stay employed until at least 65, but given my health condition, that may not be possible. It’s certainly a worry,” said Crowe, who is hopeful for one thing in the Obamacare fight. “There is also a big chance this [legislation] could implode.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the bill’s impact on people between 50 and 64. But he and other Republican backers of the overhaul have argued the legislation would be phased in carefully and would allow more people to purchase the kind of coverage they want, free of mandates from Washington.

The provision allowing insurers to charge seniors five times more than younger Americans for coverage (current law allows a 3-to-1 ratio) is set to take effect in 2018, but it might not be reflected in premiums until 2019, the CBO says. In 2020, the law would would replace Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies — which are based on income and the actual cost of insurance in a person’s market — with a flatter, aged-based credit.

The GOP plan would provide the biggest credit, $4,000, to people over 60. But that amount would be much less than many seniors currently receive and would fall far short of covering the expected increase in premiums, making it hard for many people between 50 and 64 to afford coverage.

The AARP recently published a report that concluded low-income seniors would be hurt the most by the plan. Premiums for a 64-year-old making $15,000 would increase by nearly $8,400 under the Republican plan, the report found. Meanwhile, the tax credit changes would drop their financial assistance by as much as $5,900.

“How do you have an increase with those kinds of numbers? For some of these folks, I don’t see how they’ll be able to afford insurance,” said David Certner, legislative counsel for AARP.

For Mary Longcore, a 56-year-old Michigan resident who works in health care technology, the potential legislative changes create uncertainty. Longcore has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, an inherited disorder that can cause a wide array of medical issues, including unstable joints, chronic pain, and skin and eye problems.

She has excellent insurance coverage through her job at a university, but she knows she must keep it until age 62, when she will trigger employment provisions that give her insurance coverage after she retires. “If I go on disability at this point, I really don’t have enough to pay my bills and pay for whatever insurance I end up having to get,” Longcore said.

But for her, the political issue is far from black and white. She worries about her own coverage circumstances, but she also counts herself as a conservative and is concerned about the crushing costs of health care in the United States. She would like to see broader reforms, including changes that might help reduce the costs of prescription drugs.

“I’m holding out for hope here,” she said. “Because without hope we have nothing.”

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  • America has to decide does it want universal health care or tax savings and everyone is on their own. The only fair solution is medicare for all.

    • I agree with Victor. All for one and ONE FOR ALL everyone gets the exact same coverage. If they have extra money they can go buy it! If they do not do it now they will just be back here 4 or 8 years from now. We have all suffered under the first experiment so please do not subject us to another experiment.

  • 7 Jane Sung and Olivia Dean, “Impact of Changing the Age Rating Limit for Health Insurance Premiums,” Spotlight 23, AARP Public Policy Institute, Washington, DC, February 2017, http://www.aarp.org/ppi/info-2016/Impact-of-Changing- the-Age-Rating-Limit-for-Health-Insurance-Premiums.html.

    8 Commonwealth Fund modeled a previous at tax credit proposal and found uninsurance rates would signi cantly increase for adults ages 50-64. Evan Saltzman, Christine Eibner, “What Happens if the ACA’s Tax Credits Are Replaced with Premium Support, Blog Post, The Commonwealth Fund, November, 2015, Washington DC, http://www. commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2015/nov/what- happens-if-the-acas-tax-credits-are-replaced-with-premium- support

    9 The uninsured rate for adults ages 50-64 has decreased from 13 percent in 2012 to 8 percent in 2016. See, Commonwealth Fund, “Exhibit 3,” in Biennial Health Insurance Survey
    2016, Chartpack (Washington, D.C.: 2017), http://www. commonwealthfund.org/interactives-and-data/surveys/ biennial-health-insurance-surveys/2017/2016-biennial- health-insurance-survey

    These and more can also be found at AARP.org

  • Wendy’ hamburger stop and slop eating house is getting robotics to serve up your food and take your money. This is only the beginning of millions of jobs that will be lost to automation. People will be called “useless eaters” by the elite and they will not be able to purchase ANYTHING much less an expensive insurance policy. Please people try really hard to think AHEAD TO THE REALITY OF THE FUTURE when developing policy for the masses!

  • Meanwhile back at the ranch everyone is telling social security recipients that there is no inflation! HA WHAT A NASTY JOKE

  • Shove drug prices to lowest you can get… expand Medicare for US Legal citizens only ….cut federal workers off your payrolls to the tune of 50%….. Cut cut all money going to UN and other countries, stop paying world leader to be our friends, make all political positions volunteer jobs with no pay and make all politicians have the same healthcare coverage everyone else has. Congress only works 3 days a week anyway so let them volunteer their time and change the way political campaigns are funded so our political volunteers do not have to spend any time kissing up to special interest groups to get re-elected!!!!!! I promise you very interesting real folks would be running this country and you will drain the swamp of the greedy game players we have now!

  • All these assumption are based on people buying the same policy they currently have with the ACA
    Why does a 56 year old semi-retired female need to buy maternity care coverage? It is a mandate in the ACA!
    The NEW policies will allow everyone to buy the plan type they want/need and not the over bloated plans that are required of the ACA (the main reason it is failing)
    In addition the new proposal will NOT cause anyone to lose coverage as long as they remain insured. So any concern about being left out because of existing conditions is simply wrong.
    PRE-existing conditions are those conditions one had BEFORE coverage if one is covered then any condition they have or had is pure the InsCos issue and they can’t even escalate premiums based on such concerns
    IF someone decides to drop out of coverage then that is on them and then they need to pay
    That is why cradle to grave insurance coverage mentality is essential for everyone to get into their head so they never go without coverage
    if everyone knew they had to have coverage they might forgo the new iPhone every year and he new Ford F-150 every 3 in favor of insurance
    Dr D (surgeon and advisor to the US Senate on healthcare)

    • Dear Dr D…. you are living in a very comfortable bubble… just remember death and old age are the great equalizers and your turn is coming. I am an X insurance agent who is currently in the medical field and my advice is written here please read it and think….. should I be in a position to decide for others what I would not want for my own family?

    • No one will lose coverage? Last Time I counted there were 32 states that expanded Medicare. According to the breakdown of numbers on website familiesusa.org there are 6,117,000 people at risk of losing Medicare in 2020 on Ryan’s healthcare plan. Are you trying to make our Beloved president Donald Trump look like Obama did when people found out he LIED? Please tell President Trump I volunteered for him, I donated to his Campaign, I blog every day defending him, but this is a huge mistake.

    • Forgot to mention…6117,000 is minus the California figure making the total higher at 8,230,000 people at risk of losing Medicare in 2020. California will most likely keep the Medicare expansion so I eleiminated their numbers in my next post. Ps…that is a heck of a lot of votes lost for a second term guys!

    • Did I hear that correctly???? You said “IF someone decides to drop out of coverage then that is on them and then they need to pay” ok so when someone loses their job to automation…that means they decided to drop out of coverage? If someone gets so sick that they get fired and lose their coverage at work it is their fault???God in heaven if you are listening to what comes out of this mans mouth…please hear my prayer…..help this man to see the real truth of what he is saying and how this sounds to real folks!

  • Paul Ryan gets (and has gotten for many years) most of his campaign funds from the insurance industry. President Trump is making a HUGE ERROR and will not win a second term if he does what Paul Ryan wants. As an X insurance agent I promise you that this will fail BIGLY. FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE WILL NEVER BE THE ANSWER AS GREED RUNS RAMPANT IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY. Because they are keeping those with exclusions this will cause insurance premiums to be higher for everyone. The assigned risk pool was a disaster and yes it does have death panels in the form of caps on amounts they will pay in total. DONALD TRUMP I LOVE YOU BUT READ MY LIPS…….pass single payer if you want to win a second term and you will go down in history as the most famous president EVER! Do not listen to Paul Ryan he will be your eventual and quick downfall with EVERYONE WHO VOTED FOR YOU.

    • You all need to re-read my post it was based on the issue of pre-existing condition
      The author said that the person in question was concerned about losing coverage due to her cancer surgery/diagnosis
      I am 100% sure that some people will DROP out of insurance for lots of reasons including cost. that is NOT losing coverage that is making a decision to drop it. Losing it is when you are not allowed to get coverage with a condition like pre-ACA
      NO ONE is mentioning that currently under the ACA 18 MILLION who were previously insured prior to ACA have already dropped out do to premium increases
      That drop out number is almost as great as the TOTAL number Obama was looking to save by implementing this nonsensical ordeal
      As far as DJT goes I HIGHLY doubt he cares about being re-elected if we want him then so be it he will run but if not he cares very little about playing the election games that typical Politicos play to stay in office
      That is why we don’t need socialized single payer mandatory healthcare payments we need mandatory Congressional term limits so that the people we hire to run the nation are acting in OUR best interest and NOT the interest of their re-election campaign
      Give each one a 6 or 7 year one term shot then turn the place over.
      Time we drain the swamp and time we stop making decisions that affect the lower 20 million while drastically affect the rest of us in the 320 million pie slice
      We should ALL be screaming that we should determine our own charities and not allow the Gov. to determine it for us
      Dr D

    • So sorry someone chose you DR D to advise anyone. Ask your GOD for forgiveness now because those pearly gates ain’t gonna open for you easily with your attitude toward everyone that is not like not you.

    • So sorry someone chose you DR D to advise anyone. Ask your GOD for forgiveness now because those pearly gates ain’t gonna open for you easily with your attitude toward everyone that is not like not you.

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