US/World News

Jewish elderly advocates criticize proposed health care changes

(JTA) – Two Jewish agencies charged with elderly care sharply criticized the new Republican health care bill.  B’nai B’rith International, which sponsors low-income housing for the elderly, and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), which advocates for funds for the poor and the elderly, took aim changes contained in the American Health Care Act, the bill Republican leaders hope to pass as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. In an action alert sent last week to its constituent groups, urging them to lobby Congress against the cut, JFNA said the cuts “would greatly impact Jewish federation partner agencies that provide health, long-term care and home- and community-based care.” Federation partner agencies get about $6 billion annually from Medicaid, the government program that supports health care for the poor. The bill proposes to cap Medicaid funding to each state according to the number of eligible participants at the beginning of the fiscal year. B’nai B’rith and JFNA said such caps would not take into account changes in enrollment numbers and other unexpected health care cost increases. “Changing any portion of the Medicaid funding to a per capita cap proposal would have a significant negative impact on seniors, because capping federal funding for Medicaid would add an additional layer of pressure to state budgets, and put the health care and financial security of millions of older adults at risk,” B’nai B’rith said in its March 8 statement. B’nai B’rith also took aim at a component of the bill that would reduce premiums for younger, healthier Americans, citing studies predicting “low-income adults in their 60s could see dramatic increases in premiums.”

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