State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Wolf admin officials deployed to defend the ACA

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 23, 2017 4:08 AM

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Some people who rely on the ACA for medical care gathered in the Capitol rotunda to hear the Wolf administration's defense of the system. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)

(Harrisburg) - As congressional Republicans talk about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, the Democratic Governor Tom Wolf's administration is trying to emphasize what Pennsylvania stands to lose.

Wolf and his cabinet say they have little faith lawmakers will replace the ACA with anything better.

Roughly 700,000 Pennsylvanians are currently getting healthcare through the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion alone.

State Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller noted, it's not a perfect system--particularly where the individual market is concerned.

"There are certainly improvements that could be made that would address the overall issue of rising healthcare costs" on the individual market, she said.

About five percent of Pennsylvanians are covered on the individual market. High costs in that sector are the main reason many Republicans--including the president--have labeled the ACA a "failing system."

But state Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas said starting from scratch is counterproductive.

"Why are we talking about getting rid of something that gives coverage to over a million Pennsylvanians without saying we have a plan?" Dallas asked.

Rough replacements floated by Congress include provisions like health savings accounts, which are popular among Republicans.

Many opponents--including Dallas--note such changes wouldn't really benefit low income people, who generally don't have extra money to keep in savings.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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