Doctors, senior advocates and those in the health field consider the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, a win for older adults.
Among those expressing support was Dr. Eric Moskow, the founder of Empire Gate Medical Group, with locations in Jamaica and Manhattan. He said the law is beneficial to seniors and did not anticipate it resulting in any problems. Asked if he believes it would result in a rationing of care, he replied “absolutely not.”
“It should result in a broadening of care,” Moskow said. “Obviously, the variety of medical advantage plans will continue to expand and the quality of the services and the access to the services should become increasingly easier to obtain. I think the president is clearly on the right track here. The onus is on the medical community to serve the need, and we are trying to participate in that.”
According to healthcare.gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Medicare-covered benefits will not be reduced or eliminated under the law and elders are still free to choose their own doctor.
Nearly four million Medicare recipients who had a gap in their prescription drug coverage, known as the “doughnut hole,” received a one- time tax-free rebate of $250 to help cover their medication.
After that, those in the doughnut hole receive a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name drugs until the gap is completely closed in 2020. Medicare covers some preventive services without charging the Part B coinsurance or deductible and recipients are offered a free annual wellness exam.
Reducing waste, fraud and abuse, and slowing cost growth in Medicare is supposed to reduce spending by $500 billion and help sustain coverage and provide future cost savings on premiums and co-pays.
Dr. Shauna Schwartz, who worked as the on-site physician at a Manhattan nursing home for three years and is now with Empire Gate in Jamaica, also sees Obamacare as something positive.
“I became a doctor because I sincerely believe that everyone has the right to medical care,” Schwartz said. “I think that medical care in the United States should not be a luxury or a privilege, it should be a right.”
Peter Nelson, the executive director of the Abbabbo Family Health Center, said that the aspect of the ACA that he believes is most beneficial is the coverage of prescription drugs and the closing of the doughnut hole.
“It will be a great help to seniors because they tend to take a lot of prescription drugs for chronic illnesses,” Nelson said. “It’s not uncommon for a person with diabetes to take $3,000 to $4,000 worth of prescription drugs a year, and if they are living on a fixed income of say $24,000 — that’s a big hit.”
Linda Leest, executive director of Services Now For Adult Persons, said the ACA has many pluses. She noted that more people are a part of the sandwich generation — baby boomers taking care of both their children and their elderly parents.
“We always say that senior issues are family issues, because seniors are part of the family,” Leest said.
The provision in the bill that allows young adults to be covered under their parents healthcare plan until they are 26 eases the burden on boomers and allows them more leeway to care for their senior parents, Leest said. The ACA also allows those with pre-existing conditions to get coverage, another bonus for seniors, according to Leest, because they tend to have chronic illnesses.
“There are so many positives,” Leest said. “It was a long time coming and long-past due, and we are thrilled.”
On its website, the AARP stated that the organization is “pleased” with the court’s decision, adding that the law’s provisions are “critically important.”
“This landmark legislation is already improving the health and financial security of our members and all Americans,” the group says on its website. However, a spokeswoman for the organization would not elaborate when contacted by the Chronicle last Thursday.