PA's Governor Continues To Criticize ACA Replacement

Mar 9, 2017

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- The GOP's Affordable Care Act replacement bill is beginning to make its way through congressional committees. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Pennsylvania are debating how any changes would affect the commonwealth. 

Credit governortomwolf / Flickr

The Wolf administration is staunchly against the Republican proposed plan, which would make significant cuts to state Medicaid programs and redistribute federal money based on age instead of income for people who buy individual insurance plans.

It would also get rid of the ACA's mandate, and many of the law's taxes.

Health and Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas has said ending Medicaid expansion by 2020, as proposed, could leave a $2 billion hole in the state budget.

He also said losses will trickle into other areas, like drug and alcohol addiction assistance.

"Taking that away now, especially after all those folks have at least begun to access treatment and enter into treatment would be, not only devastating, I think it would be cruel," Dallas said.

Acting Drug and Alcohol Secretary Jennifer Smith said she isn't yet certain exactly how the changes would impact her department, but she is confident that they will.

"With Medicaid expansion, we've seen the opportunity for our single county authorities to fund additional clients, and so that allowed the single county authority to utilize those funds for other individuals," she said, adding that the ability would be lost if Medicaid is cut.

Governor Tom Wolf and the state hospital association have also said the new plan could cut insurance for more than a million Pennsylvanians under the ACA, and two million on Medicaid.

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