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PA Senate Republicans Try to Block Implementation of the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with Senate Bill 10
The Act, signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, aims to make health care more affordable and accessible to all Americans
Pennsylvania Senate Republicans are attempting to block full implementation of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010.
While most of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act do not take effect until January 1, 2014, there are many beneficial attributes of the law that are already hard at work.
These provisions of the law now in effect include the expansion of insurance coverage, elimination of benefit caps and denials of insurance due to pre-existing conditions.
- More than 54 million individuals with private health insurance, including more than 20 million women have received preventative health care at no cost because of this act.
- Approximately 105 million Americans now enjoy improved coverage without lifetime limits on their benefits. Approximately 28 million of these persons are children.
- More than 4.5 million Pennsylvanians have benefitted from the removal of lifetime limits on benefits. Nearly 1.1 million of those who have benefited in Pennsylvania are children.
- Children with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage.
- Under the provisions of the law, seniors are currently receiving help with the cost of their medications
- Nationally, more than 5 million seniors on Medicare have saved an average of $635 each on prescription drugs as a result of the affordability act.
- Tax credits to help small businesses with cost of health insurance for their employees are now in place. This allows small business to cope with the cost of health insurance and eliminates the competitive disadvantage with businesses that do not offer health insurance coverage.
- Young Adults can stay on their parents health insurance until age 26, even though Pennsylvania has already implemented this prior to the act. As a result an additional 2.5 million young adults have gained coverage since September 2010.
Senate Bill 10 would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to prohibit the government from mandating that an individual obtain health insurance coverage and also prohibit the imposition of any fines or penalties on an individual who declines to do so.
This bill attempts to sidestep the Supreme Court and nullify federal law by overruling the “individual mandate” provision of the federal law through the Pennsylvania Constitution.
This is clearly unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution and consideration of this legislation amounts to nothing more than political theater in an election year.
The Affordable Care Act has come under attack from almost the moment it was signed into law with a handful of state Attorneys General filing lawsuits asking the federal courts to declare the Act—and, in particular, its requirement that all Americans who can afford to do so purchase health insurance, or pay a tax penalty—unconstitutional as a violation of State sovereignty or as an overextension of federal power.
Those lawsuits are currently being heard by the United States Supreme Court.
A state cannot just ignore federal law when it sees fit. If Pennsylvania begins down the path of picking and choosing the federal laws that will apply in Pennsylvania, what area is next? Can we opt out of federal clean air and water laws? Gun laws? Civil rights laws?
In addition to being unconstitutional, this is a slippery slope and a dangerous path.
This bill is nothing more than political grandstanding in an election year. Like the Voter Suppression Act and the downright offensive Women’s Right to Know Act, bills of this nature do nothing but harm the people of Pennsylvania.
They are distractions at a time when we need to focus on job creation, economic development, adequate health care and better schools.
Senate Bill 10 was voted out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is expected to come to the floor for a full Senate vote this week.
We must stop this misguided attack on affordable, accessible health care. Call your state senator or representative and tell them to vote against this bill. Call Governor Tom Corbett and tell him not to sign this bill.
For more information on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Law and why to support it, visit:
You can find out more specifics about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
and provide your feedback on my website at senatorhughes.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).
Offices of State
Senator Vincent Hughes