Wolf Administration Visits CHOP to Discuss Implications of Affordable Care Act Repeal

July 24, 2017

Philadelphia, PA – Wolf Administration Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller and Department of Human Services Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance Programs Leesa Allen today joined The Concilio family, and Madeline Bell, president and chief executive officer for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), at CHOP’s Karabots Center to discuss the impacts of repealing the Affordable Care Act on Pennsylvania families and children.

“More than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians currently receive coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion,” Governor Wolf said. “Commissioner Miller and Deputy Secretary Allen are tremendous stewards of the state’s insurance and health care programs and I am proud that they are making their voices heard in support of all Pennsylvanians.”

Commissioner Miller highlighted the progress the Affordable Care Act has made in providing quality 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.

“Since taking office in 2015, I and other Wolf Administration officials have traveled Pennsylvania meeting with consumers and their health care providers who have been impacted by the Affordable Care Act. But for the last six months, the tone of these meetings has changed. They’re scared by the conversations they hear coming from Washington,” said Commissioner Miller. “These people and everyone like them across the country deserve better.”

Commissioner Miller urged lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to keep the voices of consumers in mind when considering the law’s future.

“Access to quality and affordable health care should not be a privilege. It’s time to remember the people – the parents, grandparents, and children – behind the statistics and focus on actually helping them rather than waging a political battle,” she said. “Too many people benefit from this law every day to rescind the progress that has been made.”

Deputy Secretary Allen shared the impacts that changes to the Affordable Care Act could have on Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program.

“The proposed bills would limit the federal funding to a capped amount calculated and would provide no additional federal matching to the commonwealth for health care costs,” Leesa Allen, DHS Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance Programs said. “Over the past five years, our average per capita growth in Medicaid has ranged from 2.2 percent to 5.3 percent, and it’s expected to continue. With the expansion of the Affordable Care Act, we have seen significant decreases in the number of individuals without health insurance. The elimination of funding for the Medicaid expansion would reduce the gains Pennsylvania has made, and more than 715,000 individuals would lose coverage.”

Madeline Bell highlighted the importance of the Medicaid program for families served by CHOP and the Karabots Center, which provides primary care services for 32,000 children in the Philadelphia area.

“More than 80 percent of our children receive their health insurance through Medicaid; if you’re surprised by that number, you’re not alone,” said Bell. “Medicaid is the largest children’s health program in the United States. It provides health coverage for more than 30 million children – including children with chronic illness, disabilities, and behavioral health concerns. Many of these children have no other options for health insurance.”

The Concilio family, whose daughter uses Medicaid coverage to access treatment for spinal muscular atrophy at CHOP, shared their experience with the Affordable Care Act and how it has benefitted their family.

“If Claire were to lose Medicaid, we’d lose more than the hope of her ever having a normal life,” said Amy Concilio. “We would lose her. Thank you, CHOP, and thank you, Medicaid, for saving my daughter. Thank you for giving her a chance, and thank you, Pennsylvania, for not taking that chance away.”

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

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