Opinion: Seniors facing threat to affordable health care

Editor's Note: This is an opinion piece submitted by a community member. Submit your letter or opinion piece to editor@cortlandvoice.com.

While an April 19, 2019, Cortland Voice article noted the strength of local care in Cortland (“Local Health Care Providers Rank High in Federal Initiative”), seniors in our community with Medicare Advantage plans are now facing a serious threat to affordable care that threatens our ability to access these local resources.

As one of nearly 22 million seniors who depend on Medicare Advantage for affordable health care, I am deeply disheartened by the fact that Senators Gillibrand and Schumer and Rep. Lowey have failed to understand the urgency of suspending the Health Insurance Tax (HIT).

If enacted in 2020, the Health Insurance Tax would fall disproportionately on Medicare Advantage plans, raising premiums by up to $500 per couple. In previous years, Congress has suspended the HIT, recognizing the burden that it would place on seniors living on fixed incomes.

This year, Congress could stop the HIT by passing H.R. 1398 or S. 172, legislation to suspend the tax. Instead, inaction continues, threatening the affordable health care that seniors depend on to live well. With more than half of seniors living on fixed incomes of less than $30,000 annually, that’s unacceptable. Congress shouldn’t play games with senior care.

Hannah Rodgers
Member, Better Medicare Alliance Protect Our Care Task Force
Cortlandt, NY
rogersh900@gmail.com