Health and Family Security

HARRISBURG – Marc Stier, Director of the PA Budget and Policy Center, made the following statement following the defeat of the "Skinny Repeal" of the ACA in the U.S. Senate:

“We applaud the handful of Republican Senators who were willing to stand up for the democratic process. There are certainly ways the Affordable Care Act can be improved. However, a reasonable debate about the best ways to make health care more affordable and accessible for Americans was never the intention of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell here. Hopefully, that debate can happen now in a bipartisan manner with a transparent process, as major pieces of legislation like this deserve.“

HARRISBURG – Marc Stier, Director of the PA Budget and Policy Center, made the following statement following the failure of the Senate GOP health care bill and last night's decision by Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to seek a repeal of the Affordable Care Act without an immediate replacement:

“The Failure of the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which would make drastic reductions to the Medicaid programs, is welcome news to all Pennsylvanians.  We will be watching closely to ensure that this bill remains dead. We can celebrate a victory today for all those who won’t be hurt by the Republican plan: the 1.2 million Pennsylvanians who won’t lose their insurance; the thousands of Pennsylvanians each year who won’t die prematurely; the 40,000 Pennsylvanians who won’t lose their jobs; the tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who won’t lose their place in a nursing home; and all those who are dependent on hospitals and clinics that would have closed.

Later this week or next we should get a CBO score of the latest Senate health care bill and we will revise, once again, our projections for its impact on Pennsylvania. But, we are not expecting major changes in anything but in how long it takes for well over a million fewer Pennsylvanians to have insurance as a result of the bill. To see why, one must step away from some of the details of the bill and look at the big picture, focusing not just on the policy but the politics of the bill. 

From that perspective, it is pretty obvious why the Republican approach to repealing and replacing the ACA – and drastically reducing the size of the Medicaid program – can’t be fixed. 

The latest draft of the Senate health care bill shows that the critics of the previous bill were right. Changes have been made that are meant to address four problems we saw in the bill: reductions in subsidies for insurance on the marketplaces that would make insurance unaffordable for many; the ultimate elimination of the Medicaid expansion that insures so many Pennsylvanians; a fundamental restructuring of traditional Medicaid that would lead to huge cuts to benefits and eligibility; and massive tax cuts for the very rich. But while the new bill feints in the direction of fixing the problems in the last version, it only provides a small band-aid on the deep, open wound that the original bill would create.

The Manatt Health Group and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have released a new study of the impact of the Senate health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, on the states. Their estimates of the impact of the bill confirms our recent study showing that Pennsylvania will suffer devastating reductions in federal funding for Medicaid. It also offers some more fine-grained detail on the nature of these reductions.

Pennsylvania must brace itself for a substantial decrease in federal Medicaid payments that would devastate our state budget and cause massive losses in Medicaid coverage as the Senate moves to pass a version of the House’s American Health Care Act. Under the leadership of Pennsylvania’s own junior senator, Pat Toomey, that version of the bill has significantly deeper cuts to Medicaid than the House bill. 

HARRISBURG – Marc Stier, Director of the PA Budget and Policy Center, made the following statement following today's release of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the recently-passed U.S. House health care bill, the American Health Care Act:

HARRISBURG – The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities today released a paper outlining the harmful impact of changes that Senator Pat Toomey is proposing to the health care bill as negotiations continue in the Senate. The details of these changes, just now emerging, would do significant harm to Pennsylvania’s economy, our children, seniors, parents and persons with disabilities.

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