Protection from the donut hole

Congresswoman Maloney visits Swinging Sixties seniors to inspire them to fight for the ACA

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (center) with Swinging Sixties Seniors; Mary Ciorciari, St. Nicks Alliance Director of Homecare (far left); and Frank Lang, St. Nicks Alliance Director of Housing
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (center) with Swinging Sixties Seniors; Mary Ciorciari, St. Nicks Alliance Director of Homecare (far left); and Frank Lang, St. Nicks Alliance Director of Housing

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney stopped by to check in with the seniors of Swinging Sixties (211 Ainslie St.) to inform them of the many Affordable Care Act (ACA) privileges that are in danger of being repealed by the Trump administration. She started off by encouraging them to take advantage of their annual wellness visit, which discusses a plan of the coming year’s preventative care. Maloney recalled something her mother had said, “If I knew I was going to live so long I would’ve taken better care of myself.” The audible chuckles from the seniors conveyed the message was one to which they could relate.

The congresswoman also urged the seniors to lend Congress their support to secure and keep the ACA. Maloney knows firsthand how this will be a hard fight. She mentioned how she has been to the floor of Congress during the sixty-plus previous attempts to repeal this healthcare program. Healthcare is a dear issue to her as one of her first bills to pass allowed Medicare to cover mammograms. Maloney added that the ACA expanded the coverage for bone density and prostrate screenings, among others.

Maloney addressed the major concern that if the ACA is repealed that could make the donut hole bigger than before. In her talk, Maloney explained before the ACA the donut hole was encountered when prescription drug costs for seniors were “covered up to $2970, and after that there was no further Medicare coverage until $4550 was spent out of pocket.” The donut hole is that gap, and many seniors went without medicine when encountering this as they couldn’t afford the interim costs. The ACA has gradually made the gap smaller each year and is set to eliminate the donut hole in 2020. She added the ACA has saved seniors $26 billion on overall prescription drug costs, and those living in New York State who fell into the donut hole prior to the ACA have saved $1,200 each year after it was passed.

The congresswoman agreed that there are things that could be fixed in the program and used the Kosciuszko Bridge as a metaphor, in that they didn’t eliminate the bridge. Instead: “It will be improved. Let’s do the same thing to the ACA. It’s a bad deal to repeal. It’s something we have to work collectively on, and I think we will win because it’s the right thing to do.”

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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