Paul Ryan unveiled the Republican party’s replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which is supposedly a “solution” to the imperfections that exist under the current system. Rather than pass a few sensible amendments, Ryan thinks that we should strip 20 million Americans of their insurance, cut healthcare subsidies for the poor, give the rich a tax break, and raise the Medicare age of eligibility.
Ryan frequently attacks the poor, as we have written about previously, but this assault of senior citizens’ right to healthcare is a new level of appalling. Senior citizens already face many challenges. According to the National Counsel on Aging, more than 25 million senior citizens are economically insecure. They report that, “one-third of senior households has no money left over each month or is in debt after meeting essential expenses.” Almost two-thirds of households headed by a senior citizen are in debt. Senior citizens struggle to keep jobs or find new work in a changing economy.
These shocking statistics apply to all citizens age 60 and older; the Republicans want to raise the Medicare age to 67. Senior citizens face numerous health complications as they age and deserve to be treated with dignity, receiving adequate and professional medical care for all ailments. For the first seven years of their retirement, seniors will be forced to choose between healthcare, or staying out of debt and above the poverty line.
We need healthcare now more than ever; the life expectancy of white Americans has begun to decline. Although life expectancy for non-white Americans is slightly rising, it remains significantly lower than that of white Americans. Our senior citizens deserve to live the longest and healthiest lives possible; Ryan and the Republican party are trying to deny them that right.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.