Washington, D.C. – Governor Tom Wolf’s Department of Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller testified today before the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee on the potential impact of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Commissioner Miller joined health care industry stakeholders and consumers to discuss the implications of the bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
Commissioner Miller expressed serious hesitations regarding the AHCA.
“As we begin to talk about the many impacts repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replacing it with the AHCA would have in Pennsylvania, we should first recognize the impact that the ACA itself has had on Pennsylvanians,” said Commissioner Miller. “Since the ACA’s passage, the national uninsured rate has fallen to 8.6 percent and Pennsylvania’s uninsured rate has dropped to 6.4 percent – the lowest it’s ever been. More than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians have accessed coverage only available because of the ACA, and that coverage is much more comprehensive than what was previously available.”
Millions of Pennsylvanians have benefited from the ACA’s ban on annual and lifetime limits and expanded access to free preventive care services, and the 5.4 million Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions – half of Pennsylvanians under age 65 – can no longer be denied coverage or charged higher premiums due to their medical history. Additionally, more than 175,000 Pennsylvanians can now access substance use disorder treatment services through their exchange and Medicaid expansion coverage, which is critical to helping individuals impacted by the opioid crisis.
Last month, Commissioner Miller co-signed, with executives representing each of the five health insurers selling on Pennsylvania’s exchange, a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price that echoed the need for stability and predictability to continue the progress the market has made.
“Our hope is that Washington keeps the needs of consumers at the forefront of their minds as deliberations continue, and that the Senate will take a more thorough and deliberative approach than the House did in evaluating significant changes to our health care system and the potentially devastating impact of those changes on the people that rely on it every day,” said Commissioner Miller. “This is about Americans accessing and affording care that is vital to their health and well-being. We cannot return to a place where people are forced to accept less coverage at an increased cost, and make tough choices between their finances or their health.”
A video of the hearing is available here.