Wolf Administration, Elected Officials, Medical Professionals, and Consumers Discuss Implications of Affordable Care Act Repeal for Pennsylvania Consumers

March 23, 2017

Pittsburgh, PA – Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller and Secretary of Human Services Ted Dallas today joined Senator Jay Costa, Representative Dan Frankel, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Dr. Terence Dermody and Dr. Steven Docimo, and Pennsylvania consumers at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to discuss the implications of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for Pennsylvania consumers. More than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians currently receive coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion.

Governor Wolf is committed to protecting Pennsylvanians’ health care coverage from being eliminated or diminished by Washington’s attempted repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has increased the quality of health care coverage for all Pennsylvanians.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, more than 6.1. million Pennsylvanians benefit from access to free preventive care services, 5.4 million cannot be denied health insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition, and 4.5 million are no longer subject to annual and lifetime limits that used to be placed on covered benefits. These protections benefit all Pennsylvanians and are not limited to those who receive coverage through the Medicaid expansion or a plan purchased on the exchange.

The Affordable Care Act has also helped drive down Pennsylvania’s uninsured rate to its lowest point ever: 6.4 percent for adults and 4.1 percent for children. Before the law was passed, more than 10 percent of Pennsylvanians did not have insurance.

“Rather than looking for solutions that expand upon the progress of the Affordable Care Act, leaders in Congress and the Trump Administration are doubling down on a proposal that the Congressional Budget Office estimates would cost 24 million people their health insurance by 2026 – including 14 million in 2018 alone,” said Commissioner Miller. “The American Health Care Act shifts the cost burden to consumers when they need care. Basing tax credits on age while shifting costs from premiums to out-of-pocket spending will only help the healthy and wealthy while leaving low and middle-income families and those with significant health needs vulnerable.”

Commissioner Miller and Secretary Dallas urged lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to keep the voices of consumers who are positively impacted by the Affordable Care Act in mind when considering the law’s future.

“As a result of Governor Wolf’s action to expand Medicaid, more than 700,000 new Pennsylvanians now have health insurance and the commonwealth’s uninsured rate has been cut by more than half. Out of those 700,000-plus Pennsylvanians, more than 124,000 individuals have accessed vital drug and alcohol treatment,” said Secretary Dallas. “To take necessary health care from many deserving individuals who rely on critical services would be cruel.”

Representatives from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC echoed the administration’s concerns, highlighting how this could impact the more than one million children they serve each year.

“We are concerned about the future of Medicaid, which is the primary insurer of children in low-income families and those with complex health care needs,” said Dr. Terence Dermody, Chief of Pediatrics, Physician-in-Chief, and Science Director at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. “Medicaid is the single largest insurer for some 30 million children in the United States.”

If the ACA were to be repealed, Pennsylvania could lose 137,000 jobs in 2019, almost all in the private sector and would reduce gross state product by $76.5 billion and state and local tax revenue by $2.4 billion between 2019 and 2023. Over the next 10 years, repealing the ACA is estimated to result in nearly $36 billion less federal funding for health care for Pennsylvanians and $7.8 billion more in state spending.

“As a result of Medicaid expansion, nearly 700,000 low-income working families, seniors and those with disabilities, especially children, now have access to quality, affordable health care options who previously were without coverage,” Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said. “The idea that Congress is going to advance a plan that will tear holes in the safety net, imperil families and may take health care away for many of our citizens is sickening. Congress should think long and hard about supporting a plan that will inflict pain on the very families we’re supposed to be helping.”

Other local elected officials from Allegheny County and Pittsburgh shared how repealing the Affordable Care Act would impact their constituents.

“Today we call on our representatives in Washington to vote “no” on repeal and to protect the 1.1 million Pennsylvanians who stand to lose health care coverage,” said Representative Dan Frankel. “The repeal of the Affordable Care Act will have a devastating effect on working class people and our state economy, as well as critical access hospitals that service rural areas, and thousands of women who rely on Planned Parenthood for life-saving medical treatment.”

“In Allegheny County, we worked hard to ensure that families and individuals could receive health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Based on the most recent data we have, 93.19% of adults in our county now have insurance,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The proposed plan to replace the ACA would remove financial assistance that makes insurance affordable, increase the number of people in our country who are uninsured, and end the Medicaid coverage that so many, including vulnerable children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and seniors with long-term care needs, rely on.”

Mayor Bill Peduto echoed these concerns.

“Repealing ACA will hurt millions of Pennsylvanians and will cause particular harm to the elderly and those with disabilities,” said Mayor Peduto. “I beg Congress to reconsider this awful legislation and think about all the lives across the United States it will negatively impact.”

The Wolf Administration officials were also joined by consumers who shared how the Affordable Care Act has impacted their ability to access and afford care and their overall health.

“I want my daughter to have not just a great childhood, but to grow up and be an independent and productive member of our society,” said Casey Dye, a mother from Monroeville, Pa., whose daughter uses Medicaid to help afford seven therapy sessions a week for a severe speech disorder and in-school support. “If you take these services away, she is not going to be able to do that.”

Mrs. Dye also discussed how she and her husband went on to marketplace plans after her husband lost his job. Without the Affordable Care Act, they would not be able to afford health insurance coverage for themselves or their children.

“We always talk about how children are our future, it’s time to put that to action and not just say that.”

For more information on how the Affordable Care Act impacts Pennsylvania, click here.

SHARE Email Facebook Twitter