On Wednesday, I sent a letter to five Pennsylvania congressmen who serve on two key House committees to formally ask them to vote “no” on President Donald Trump’s disastrous plan, the American Health Care Act.
I wrote my letter to Representatives Tim Murphy, Ryan Costello, Mike Doyle, Pat Meehan and Mike Kelly because I want to make sure they know the truth: President Trump’s plan would harm healthcare access and increase costs for millions of families, seniors, and working people.
Today, more than 2.8 million Pennsylvanians are enrolled in Medicaid. More than 700,000 of them gained coverage only after the expansion that I put in place as a part of the Affordable Care Act after taking office. Unfortunately, Trump’s plan puts the long-term security of Medicaid at risk and that could be a matter of life and death — especially those receiving life-saving addiction treatment that has finally begun to drive back the opioid epidemic plaguing our state.
Older Pennsylvanians would also be hit especially hard, as the proposed law would allow insurance companies to charge them five times as much as others, while drastically reducing subsidies that have made their care affordable. According to an analysis from Standard & Poor’s, a 64-year-old could see annual premiums increase by almost 30 percent. Trump’s plan is an “age tax” and that’s wrong.
People who have lived and worked in our communities, sometimes for their entire lives, will suddenly be at the mercy of health insurance companies who will no longer be restricted from charging them higher premiums than the rest of us. Women, in particular, will be hurt by the defunding of Planned Parenthood and restrictions on reproductive care.
While the Congressional Budget Office has yet to calculate the costs, independent analysis has already reported that Trump’s plan could force up to 10 million people to lose their health insurance and that costs for the average enrollee would go up by at least $1,500.
The fact is, Pennsylvanians can’t afford President Trump’s plan — and our representatives in Congress can’t afford to ignore the pain it will cause people across the commonwealth.