New York (May 4, 2017)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) remains opposed to the amended American Health Care Act (AHCA) that today passed the U.S. House of Representatives despite serious concerns from geriatrics experts and a host of other stakeholders across health care. This legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would harm access to key health services for older adults, caregivers, and healthcare professionals—which is why the AGS now urges the U.S. Senate to oppose the bill in its current form.
“The present proposal would still increase costs, reduce coverage, and cut benefits, putting health, independence, and quality of life at risk for all of us as we age,” reiterated Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA, Chief Executive Officer of the AGS. “We are committed to working with Congress and the Trump Administration on meaningful reforms, but we continue to oppose changes that might jeopardize access to high-quality, person-centered, and affordable health coverage for all older Americans.”
The AGS has previously voiced opposition to several iterations of the AHCA. AGS experts noted that any health reform legislation would need to:
- Expand older adults’ healthcare options to include in‐home and other care that enable us to live independently as long as possible.
- Help older adults and caregivers better understand healthcare needs and make the most of Medicare and other benefits.
- Provide caregivers with adequate resources and support.
- Ensure that value‐based purchasing and other quality initiatives take into account the unique healthcare needs of all older people.
- Strengthen primary and preventive care and care coordination.
- Address the acute and growing nationwide shortage of geriatricians (physicians with advanced training in the care of older people) and all geriatrics healthcare professionals, and ensure that other healthcare providers have training that prepares them to meet the unique healthcare needs of older people.
- Step‐up research concerning healthy aging; the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of age‐related health problems; and the cost‐effectiveness of various approaches to care; and ensure that older adults are adequately represented in clinical research trials.
Health policies that embrace these critical recommendations will support a future when all older adults can receive high-quality, person-centered care, say AGS officials. The AGS will continue to monitor plans and proposals for health reform, lending expertise on the needs of older adults, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has—for 75 years—worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.