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Statement on Passage of American Health Care Act in House of Representatives

May 4, 2017

Harrisburg, PA –  In a vote this afternoon, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that would make drastic cuts to Medicaid, end Medicaid expansion, and increase health care costs for Pennsylvanians. AntoinetteKraus, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, released the following statement:

“If it becomes law, the wildly unpopular bill that passed the House today — which 9 of Pennsylvania’s 18-member Congressional Delegation voted against — will endanger the lives of millions of Pennsylvanians who will be left with fewer choices that cost more and cover less, with no meaningful protections against the price-gouging and coverage denials that people with pre-existing conditions faced prior to the Affordable Care Act.  Everyone is harmed by this bill including individuals with employer sponsored coverage.

Hospitals, doctors, medical professionals, seniors, and patient advocates have been vocal in opposition to the bad policies in this bill, fearing their impact on vulnerable groups like older Americans, seniors, children, and people with disabilities.

The AHCA makes drastic cuts to Medicaid, a program in which 43 percent of enrollees are children.  Those federal funding cuts will ‘trickle down’ to the state, adding $2-3 billion in annual costs to our already-strained state budget.

For average Pennsylvanians, particularly those over 50 and who are sick, the costs of obtaining health coverage will skyrocket. New potential surcharges for pre-existing conditions along increased premiums and decreased financial assistance with plans that can charge at least five times more than younger individuals will essentially lock out people from the critical care they need.

Senators Casey and Toomey should oppose any bill that radically restructures Medicaid as we know it, ends Medicaid expansion, and reduces the number of insured Pennsylvanians. We thank the Pennsylvania members of Congress who opposed this disastrous bill.  While this bill was rushed through with last minute changes and little debate or analysis, the Senate now must carefully review the harmful and reckless policies it contains. We ask Senators Casey and Toomey to carefully and thoughtfully review the bill and reject the harmful policies that will disrupt the lives of 1.1 million Pennsylvanians and potentially put their care and financial stability at risk.”