HARRISBURG, June 26, 2017 — Lawmakers from the state Senate and House of Representatives, along with Wolf Administration officials and advocates, denounced the latest attempt in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act during a rally today at the State Capitol.
The lawmakers said the Republican-led efforts in Washington will have an immediate and devastating impact on Pennsylvanians’ health care and will add to an already-gaping budget deficit.
The so-called ‘Better Care Reconciliation Act’ is not better care, unless you’re part of the wealthy elite who will benefit financially from deep cuts to programs, service and critical care,” said Democratic Leader Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). “This is an attack on the working poor, elderly, children and Pennsylvanians with disabilities and we will not stand for it. We speak out today because we care too deeply.
“Removing health care coverage for hard working families, senior citizens and children is sickening. This effort out of Washington to repeal a landmark and historic health care act isn’t just playing politics, it’s risking lives,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia), the Democratic chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “The only people who make out in all of this are the wealthiest individuals in the nation. Repealing Obamacare will hurt the Pennsylvania budget but, more importantly, it will jeopardize critical coverage for our most vulnerable citizens.”
“When the Affordable Care Act came out, people could actually get coverage and care. We must not go back to where we were before,” said state Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks), Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “Health care is a right of every citizen. Ensuring that individuals and families have access to affordable coverage is a reasonable right. This is part of what a just and humane society does.”
“Both plans coming out of Washington will be disastrous for folks who need, want and deserve coverage. The plans dole out tax cuts to the rich on the backs of the poor, the middle class and the elderly,” said state Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia), the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. “We must stand up collectively and let Congress know that these health care efforts will be devastating to folks across Pennsylvania.”
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania’s uninsured rate is at its lowest point in history, and uncompensated care costs have dropped dramatically, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
One million Pennsylvanians rely on the Affordable Care Act for health coverage, including 716,000 individuals who have benefitted from the state’s Medicaid expansion and another 400,000 who have health benefits through ACA’s health care marketplace.
Both the Senate and House proposals in Congress phase out Medicaid expansion and inflict deep cuts to Medicaid. The Republican proposals will shift the cost of health care to state governments, make private insurance more expensive for older adults and lower income populations, cuts insurance subsidies for low-income and middle-class Americans in order to provide tax cuts for the rich, and defund Planned Parenthood for a year.
The lawmakers encourage constituents to share their health care story on social media using the hashtag #PASpeaksOut