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Senator Bob Casey: GOP health bill would mean 'destructive' cuts

Written by The Associated Press | Jun 26, 2017 3:12 AM
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FILE PHOTO: Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Lancaster) -- Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey has told a town hall crowd in Lancaster the Republican health care proposal in the U.S. Senate would mean "destructive" cuts to Medicaid and "obscene" tax cuts for the rich.

Casey spent much of the time Saturday telling the supportive crowd that almost filled the 305-seat Franklin & Marshall College venue how he believes the measure would hurt vulnerable Americans.

"It sells out the middle class. It's bad for children. It's bad for seniors. It's bad for people with disabilities, and it's a huge giveaway in tax cuts to the super rich," he said.

Casey, who is running for re-election to a third term next year, has said the bill poses a foundational retrenchment of Medicaid and could mean coverage losses for people with employer-sponsored insurance, in addition to those covered by Pennsylvania's $30 billion Medicaid federal-state partnership.

Senate Republicans released the long-anticipated bill Thursday after weeks of closed-door meetings trying to make good on promises to dismantle former President Barack Obama's signature health care law. The bill could come to a vote as early as next week.

Pennsylvania's Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, who helped write the bill, said he is likely to vote for it, in part because it puts Medicaid on a sustainable path.

Dr. Ajay Marwaha, a Lancaster heart specialist, drew applause at the town hall when he said the Republicans want to give him a $20,000 tax cut he doesn't need to take insurance away from people who really need it.

"This bill is grounded in greed and cruelty to the poor and the underprivileged," he said, and Casey responded, "Well, doctor, I'll tell you, you described the bill better than I did."

Casey and others say the bill poses a bigger threat to Pennsylvania's health care system than many other states, partly because of Pennsylvania's relatively generous Medicaid program and partly because of its relatively older and costlier population.

The chairman of the Republican party of Pennsylvania, Val DiGiorgio, said Casey was playing "political games instead of working across the aisle to find solutions to fix our broken health care system."

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