AARP Opposes the Repeal of Consumer Protection Measures in Health Care Law

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–September 15, 2011.  AARP today wrote a letter in opposition to attempts to dismantle important recently enacted provisions of the health care law that protect consumers. In the letter to leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, AARP details why repealing certain aspects of the law will thwart patient access to affordable, high quality care. During a Health Subcommittee hearing today, members discussed the MLR Repeal Act of 2011 and pledged to introduce measures to prevent the enforcement of grandfathered plans status change threshold. The letter was sent to U.S. Representatives Fred Upton, Henry Waxman, Joe Pitts and Frank Pallone.

Excerpts of the letter from Joyce A. Rogers, AARP Senior Vice President, are below:

“I am writing to you on behalf of AARP’s millions of members and the millions of older Americans and their families who may benefit from recently enacted consumer protections in health plans. In particular, we are extremely concerned that the legislation before your committee would prevent the enforcement of the grandfathered plans status change threshold, as well as repeal the medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements. AARP believes these provisions can promote more cost-effective care, improve pricing transparency, and increase health insurance companies’ accountability for quality health care.

“AARP is concerned that the draft legislation would eliminate the change threshold that would cause a plan or coverage to relinquish their status, thus consumers would be denied patient protections even if substantial changes were made to their plan. The ACA was designed to provide patient protections and insurance reforms that safeguard individuals from practices that lead to limited access to covered services and significant out-of-pocket costs. By allowing grandfathered plans to make substantial changes and still avoid consumer protections indefinitely, the bill effectively repeals those protections for large segments of the population. In so doing, the bill would effectively create two tiers of insurance rules that will continue indefinitely, and undermine risk pooling as well as consumer protections.

“The [ACA’s] MLR provisions maximize the value of health insurance for consumers while at the same time providing issuers with fair compensation for their legitimate administrative costs. HR 2077 would repeal this important consumer protection.”