February 12, 2017
Productive Meeting Held with Representative Peter King
On Friday February 10, 2017 NYSARA President Barry Kaufmann and Long Island Chapter of NYSARA President Stanley Bergman met with Congressman Peter King. (R/CD #2) NYSARA’s positions on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Block granting or annualizing of Medicaid, voucherizing and raising the age of Medicare access and the diminishment of Social Security were discussed.
President Kaufmann and Chapter President Bergman detailed all the things that could be lost to seniors through ACA repeal such as annual and lifetime caps, limits on premium differences for seniors and transitioning seniors (age 55-64), no cost screening tests that help bend the cost curve by accessing early diagnosis vs late discovery treatment, electronic medical records etc. The rising cost of drugs was also discussed as well as the hit that Medicaid block granting would pose to New York State in general and to individual counties in particular.
On Medicare, the difficulty and expense of accessing health care for two more years (65-67) especially if the ACA provision limiting insurers to no more than 3 times the cost for seniors vs. a healthy young male is repealed. President Kaufmann also brought up the contradiction of the Republican’s expressed desire to lower the cost of Medicare and the voucher proposal. By issuing vouchers, that will not keep up with the increasing cost of health care, and having Medicare enrollees purchase their own insurance it “decentralizes” health care and spreads Medicare members over a larger number of providers. In doing this it weakens the bargaining power of Medicare to lower drug prices, hospital care etc.
The “Johnson” bill on reforming Social Security was also discussed and NYSARA leaders mentioned this bill decreased benefits by 27% to prevent a possible future 21% cut and did NOT increase revenue and even repealed the taxes on high income recipients that help support Social Security.
Congressman King was engaged in this discussion and said he was not supportive of block granting of Medicaid, as it dramatically impacts New York and his constituents. He was open to discussion of reimportation of drugs and negotiation of drug prices as possible ways of lowering costs. He acknowledged that preventive care IS important in bending the cost curve. The Congressman also said he was not a big fan of vouchers and believed that we need to get the replacement of the ACA right. NYSARA leadership and the Congressman agreed that there were areas of the ACA that did need to be addressed. Congressman King also told us that the recent conversation between President Trump and Governor Cuomo was a positive one regarding the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare.