Rep. Knight backs ‘Age Tax’ hiking health care costs on older residents

Steve Knight - AP photo

Congressman Steve Knight voted to make health insurance more expensive for residents aged 50-64, a provision the AARP calls an "age tax."

Before Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) voted to repeal the popular Affordable Care Act, the AARP had a stark warning for him: The Republican bill will “dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64,” which is “an unaffordable age tax.”

Yet Knight ignored the AARP, sided with Trump (something he does 99 percent of the time), and voted to substantially increase the cost of health insurance for his constituents, Californians, and Americans across the country.

The AARP was opposed to the provision in the bill designed to allow “insurance companies to charge people between the ages of 50 and 64 (those too young for Medicare) five times what they can charge younger consumers.” (Under current law, insurance companies are limited to charging older customers three times as much.)

“It’s an outrage that anyone in the U.S. Congress could expect people over age 50 to pay thousands more for health coverage,” the AARP said.

But Knight still casted a vote in favor of forcing people over age 50 to pay thousands more for health coverage. According to AARP estimates, the Knight-backed provision would result in older Americans paying up to $8,400 more for health insurance every year.

“It’s even worse than we expected,” the AARP added.

The AARP wasn’t the only organization opposed to the Republican health care repeal bill, officially called the American Health Care Act (AHCA). CBS News reports that “frontline physicians who provide physical and mental health care services to millions of Americans every day,” adamantly opposed Knight’s vote on the bill. The group of medical professional organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics, said: 

Regrettably, the AHCA, as amended and passed by the House, violates our principles, dramatically increasing costs for older individuals, resulting in millions of people losing their health care coverage, and returning to a system that allows insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. “

Shortly after Knight cast his vote, a mobile billboard drove around his district to remind residents about Knight’s embrace of the “age tax.” “It’s important for people to see the impact that ACA repeal will have on the residents of the district,” said Philip Germain with CA-25 United for Progress.

While the Senate ultimately rejected the bill passed by the House, Knight didn’t stop his anti-health care crusade, which would increase health care costs for Californians. He went on to support provisions tucked into the unpopular tax bill that have had disastrous consequences for Californians.

Covered California is requesting an 11 percent increase to health care premiums, and they said that more than half the increase is because of Republican policy changes.

While Knight’s efforts to impose an “age tax” failed the first time around, the Washington Post is reporting that Republicans may try again to vote on a major health care bill.

Which means Knight may get another chance to cast a vote allowing insurance companies to force people over age 50 to pay thousands more for health coverage.