May 12, 2017

Seniors Talk, People Listen

Texas organizer Judy Bryant spoke to the monthly luncheon of UAW Local 848 on May 11, 2017.

Judy Bryant at UAW 848
Judy Bryant at UAW 848

Her topic, of course, was the health care crisis brought on by the Republican House of Representatives’ new anti-health-care bill.

“It’s all about making money for the insurance companies,” said Judy Bryant, state organizer for the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, at our May 11 2nd Thursday retiree meeting. She went over a fact sheet that was given out to our retirees. It said:

How are seniors affected by Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump’s American Health Care Act?

Raids Medicare

  • Reduces the solvency of the Medicare trust fund by 4 years by repealing the .09% payroll tax for high earners (individuals earning $200,000 and couples earning $250,000).

Guts Medicaid

  • Cuts $880 billion from Medicaid by changing the Medicaid payment structure from unlimited federal match to a per capita cap.  Cuts of this magnitude will force states to ration care by making it harder to qualify for benefits, cutting payments to providers and/or requiring individuals to pay more.  Since long-term care is an optional service, states could eliminate or severely reduce it, jeopardizing nursing home or home care for seniors.
  • Terminates Medicaid expansion in 2017.

Impact on Americans 50-64 years old

  • Insurance premiums for this age group will rise from $1,700 a year to $14,600 a year, jeopardizing care for more than 6 million people who purchase their health insurance on an exchange. (A separate fund had been created that would allow the Senate to provide a larger tax credit for this age group, however, the added funding will still not be sufficient and seniors will not be able to buy adequate coverage.)
  • States can obtain waivers from essential health benefits, which means plans can exclude coverage for things like hospitalizations, mammograms and laboratory services. States can also waive community ratings, allowing plans to charge more for pre-existing conditions.

Provides tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations

  • Billions in tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations, including insurers, drug companies and medical device makers.
  • Starting in 2023, people earning more than $1 million a year will receive a $50,000 tax cut and the top 1% will receive a $195,000 tax cut.

Keeps “Cadillac Tax” on Workers’ Health Insurance

  • While the bill repeals taxes for the rich, it keeps in place a 40% excise tax for high-cost employer-sponsored health plans. This tax applies to employer plans with more ill, disabled, or older workers, as well as those in regions with high health-care costs.

Party of Judy Bryant’s presentation was made into a video for Facebook. It is available at

The retirees might have gotten the same information some other way, but it has extra credibility when it comes directly from another senior. Why not let a spokesperson from the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans address your next organizational meeting?

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–Gene Lantz, President

Texas Alliance for Retired Americans


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