Frankel, Policy Committee explore Affordable Care Act repeal

PITTSBURGH, March 29 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Pittsburgh, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation that explored the implications of repealing the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion.

“I was honored to host the House Policy Committee and several panels of experts to testify about the successes of the Affordable Care Act and the devastating consequences to Pennsylvanians should a repeal continue to be pursued,” Frankel said. “The testimony provided gave us our clearest look yet at the wide-reaching and life-saving benefits of the Affordable Care Act.  A wholesale repeal would cause irreparable harm to both the 1.1 million Pennsylvanians already insured as a result of the ACA and to the financial health of the commonwealth. With repeal looking less likely, our efforts should now turn to improving the ACA by restoring risk corridor and reinsurance programs that incentivize health insurers to participate in the exchanges without bearing the full financial burden of adverse selection, by requiring all insurers who want to sell in the individual markets to offer their plans through the exchanges, and by exploring the public option. Any one of these changes will increase the participation of insurers and stabilize premium costs across the health insurance market.”

Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, added: “The reality is that the repeal of the ACA is a devastating possibility for Pennsylvanians and we should be prepared. Representative Frankel gathered an informed group of testifiers to give us insight into how the commonwealth can strategize to minimize potential burden to Pennsylvanians.”

Testifiers included Leesa Allen, deputy secretary for medical assistance programs, Pa. Department of Human Services; Dr. Loren Robinson, deputy secretary for health promotion and disease prevention, Pa.  Department of Health; Jessica Altman, chief of staff, Pa. Insurance Department; Erika Fricke, health policy director, Allies for Children; B.J. Leber, president and CEO, Adagio Health; Susan Friedberg Kalson, CEO, Squirrel Hill Health Center; Carmen Alexander, senior operations manager, New Voices Pittsburgh; Cassie Narkevic, health insurance enrollment counselor, Consumer Health Coalition; Kristy Trautman, executive director, FISA Foundation; AJ Harper, president, Healthcare Council of Western Pa.; Christie Hudson, LCSW, clinical social work/therapist; and Dr. Liz Cuevas, internist, AGH Internal Medicine-Northside.

Hearing materials are available at www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee.