March 18, 2017
Pennsylvania health officials issued a warning to the state's Congressional delegation about the potential negative impact of the Republican health care bill on residents.
On Friday, Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas and Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller traveled to Washington, D.C. to tell lawmakers about the perceived dire consequences of the American Health Care Act. Effects include increased financial burden on the state and a drop in residents with health care coverage.
“We will be forced to make decisions about whom we can afford to cover, what services we will be able to continue to cover and what rates we will be able to pay providers,” Dallas said. “With one in four Pennsylvanians over the age of 60 in the next few years, we will find it difficult to provide the same level of care to seniors and vulnerable persons – like those with disabilities.”
The health officials delivered the message on behalf of Gov. Tom Wolf, who opposes the proposed legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama. More than 1.1 million state residents gained coverage through the ACA, Wolf noted.
“The public supports the ACA,” said Wolf. “In fact, in recent polling it’s experiencing its highest ratings of favorability. The ACA is providing lifesaving access to health care to more than a million Pennsylvanians. It needs to be repaired – not replaced.”
Wolf is critical of the AHCA's provisions that end Medicaid expansion, defund Planned Parenthood and shift health care costs to consumers.
AHCA supporters say the bill is necessary, pointing to soaring premiums and the unpopular mandate which requires people to have coverage.
The proposed measure would end the tax penalty on uninsured people and offer age-based tax credits for coverage.
“At the crux of all of this is the fact that older Pennsylvanians, people with disabilities, and low-income people will be most negatively impacted,” Miller said.