By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is putting seniors on alert about how a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) would affect their drug prices.
“(The ACA) is helpful to seniors and it would be dangerous to repeal it,” Maloney told seniors at the Stein Center on Friday. “It would threaten the economy, children and seniors. Healthcare is better under the ACA and seniors have more protections.”
The congresswoman, who was joined by State Senator Brad Hoylman, explained that the coverage gap in Medicare prescription drug plans, often referred to as the “donut hole,” has decreased under Obamacare but she warned that the gap could return if the ACA is repealed. According to Maloney, seniors who previously fell into the coverage gap saved an average of $1,195. She noted that the gap was supposed to be closed completely by 2020, but if the ACA is repealed, seniors in that coverage gap will again have to pay 100 percent of their drugs costs.
Maloney added that Medicare was expected to run out of money by this year but the Medicare trust fund is now safe through 2030 because of the ACA, due to savings from the new efficiencies enacted by the law.
The talk at the Stein Center drew a bigger turnout than the Congresswoman said she’d expected, with more than 50 seniors. Some said they were worried about their current costs as well as the effect a repeal of the ACA could have on the cost of their medications.
“The cost of healthcare is increasing at the lowest rate in 50 years,” Maloney said. “No senior should have to choose between medication, groceries and paying rent. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, seniors will again be put into an impossible decision, as a rise in drug costs will certainly be swift.”