Thank Obamacare for Driving Older Americans to the GOP

With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, the initial feeling was that older adults would embrace Obamacare and thank President Obama with their support and votes.

The euphoria for Obamacare is quickly waning as they find themselves with a shrinking provider network and, in many cases, having to cut ties with long-time physicians.

Andy Mangione, vice president of government relations for the Association of Mature American Citizens, a conservative advocacy group for senior citizens, said on my Made in America radio show that their 1.2 million members are united behind one idea: dump Obamacare.

Most seniors in the U.S. think they were sold a bill of goods. The belief that younger people with lower healthcare costs would balance out the higher healthcare costs of seniors has not materialized.

Instead, younger people are not enrolling in the Affordable Care Act in the numbers that make it viable. And once the artificial premium costs resulting from the Obama subsidies ends, premiums for older adults will skyrocket.

Panicked older adults will turn to Medicare, only to discover that Medicare won’t cover the healthcare costs it once did.

This is an opportunity for Republicans to show a new path in helping seniors reduce healthcare costs without impacting coverage.

In the presidential election of 2000, Al Gore won 51 percent of the vote among those older than 65. During the 2012 election, among those older than 65 years of age, 56 percent voted Republican, compared with 53 percent in 2008.

Obamacare should drive even more older adults to the GOP, but Republicans need a plan — and they have to overcome a problem.

Despite the fact that more seniors are coming to the Republican Party, seniors are the most government-dependent segment of the population. That’s not good news for a party trying to reduce entitlements.

What’s needed is a two-prong attack.

First is to develop a healthcare plan that would appeal to seniors and is void of smoke-and-mirror insurance subsidies. Just trying to overturn Obamacare without an alternate plan isn’t going to work in 2016. We need bold action and some risk taking, which should be easier when the Republicans control the House and Senate.

Next, appeal to baby boomers who are increasingly becoming more conservative. The proportion of baby boomers who called themselves “angry at government” surged from 15 percent before 2008 to 26 percent after the financial crisis struck. By 2011, 42 percent of baby boomers were labeling themselves “conservative.”

The 65-or-older population jumped 15.1 percent between 2000 and 2010, compared with a 9.7 percent increase for the total U.S. population. People 65 or older now make up 13 percent of the total population, compared with 12.4 percent in 2000 and 4.1 percent in 1900.

Obamacare is driving a wedge in this growing demographic, but we have to wean older adults from entitlements and substitute a healthcare plan that makes fiscal sense.

It’s time to look at the older adult population with a new perspective. Being 65 is no longer considered “old.” People are living much longer. In fact, in 2010, the older-than-80 population included 4 million males and 7.2 million females. That’s 7.2 million potential women voters who are upset with Obamacare and looking for an alternative. They could quickly change the gender advantage of women enjoyed by the Democrats.

The country is getting more conservative. The older adult population is growing. There has never been a better time to lay out a vision for them. It’s the key to a long run of Republican presidents and a Republican Congress.

Leave A Comment