Democrats appeal to Congress to keep health care law

HARRISBURG, March 22 – With a moment of reckoning fast approaching in Congress, several Democratic state lawmakers outlined the catastrophic effects a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have on Pennsylvania patients and families, people struggling with addiction to painkillers, and hospitals.

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said the reckless action contemplated by President Trump and congressional Republican leaders puts the entire nation at risk.

“If they are successful, the fallout will be felt in every Pennsylvania town and city, in every hospital emergency room, in every doctor’s office,” Dermody said. “We just can’t afford for that to happen. It would devastate our Commonwealth and lead to disease and deaths that can and must be prevented.”

Rep. Anthony DeLuca, the Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, noted the opposition of AARP and other groups representing older Americans. He said the stakes could not be higher.

“Repealing the Affordable Care Act would send us back to a time when too many people couldn’t afford to buy health insurance, had no primary care physician, and all too often ended up in an emergency room with a medical crisis,” said DeLuca, D-Allegheny. “Emergency care is the most expensive kind of treatment and all of us end up paying for it when patients lack insurance.”

Rep. Pam DeLissio, D-Phila./Montgomery, emphasized the human impact of doing away with the Affordable Care Act. 

“This is about much more than budget numbers and programs; it’s about people who are sick now or will get sick a year or two years from now,” she said. “Even those lucky people who always stay healthy will have to live with worry about lacking coverage. For millions of Americans, the ACA means health coverage options they never had before. And it means hope.”

“Today we stand on behalf of the 1.1 million Pennsylvanians who could lose their health care coverage if Republicans in Washington get their way,” said Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny. “The repeal of the Affordable Care Act and passage of the Trump/Ryan Care Act will have a devastating effect on working class people, critical access hospitals that service rural areas, our state budget, and thousands of women who rely on Planned Parenthood and don’t want to see it defunded.”

The Pennsylvania legislators said that members of Congress have a big decision to make. 

“This will be one of the most important votes these lawmakers ever cast in Washington,” Dermody said. “We’re asking them to think very carefully and then vote to keep the Affordable Care Act instead of destroying it.”