HARRISBURG, March 28, 2012 – – State Sen. Vincent Hughes, Democratic chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following comments on Senate Bill 10 and the attempt by Senate Republicans to prohibit the implementation of parts of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Pennsylvania:

“This legislation has nothing to do with national health care reform. The Senate’s consideration of this legislation is political theater.  This measure would have to be passed in the next session of the General Assembly then be approved by voters before it would become part of the state Constitution.

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This smacks of an election year strategy to aid Republicans.  Coming on the heels of the effort to suppress voting via the Republican voter ID legislation, we’ve done nothing but debate politics in the Senate over the last several months.   We’ve not acted to create jobs or reinforce the social safety net that has been shredded by Corbett budget cuts.  Plus, we are still waiting for the governor’s plan to rebuild our roads, bridges and mass transit systems.

We must not ignore the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, including expansion of insurance coverage, elimination of benefit caps and denials of insurance due to pre-existing conditions.  We need affordable, accessible health care in Pennsylvania and this Act gives us just that.

We’ve wasted valuable time on a thinly-veiled, but highly sophisticated effort to aid the Republican Party and its candidates.  This measure is another unnecessary distraction at a time when we need to focus on job creation, economic development, adequate health care and better schools.  We need to refocus our priorities and stop the national Republican dog and pony show.”

The bill was passed along party lines and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.