Frankel: Pa. needs to know impact of health-care repeal; urges Senate to include his amendment

HARRISBURG, June 30 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, was disappointed that House Republicans voted down an amendment he offered Thursday to require a proposed new independent state Medicaid director's office to issue a report on how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would affect Pennsylvanians.

"I’m amazed that House Republicans refused to include my common-sense amendment, but I hope the Senate will be wiser and agree that this study should be an essential duty for the proposed office," Frankel said. "I have not decided whether I can support this bill even if my language is added because the bill greatly limits the role of the governor, who is accountable to voters statewide, in making decisions about Medicaid in Pennsylvania."

The Republican-controlled House is moving H.B. 1354, which would create the new Office of the Independent Medical Assistance Director to oversee the state's Medicaid program. On Thursday, the House defeated along party lines Frankel’s amendment, which would have required the new director to issue a report within 60 days of his or her confirmation about the impact of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act on Pennsylvania and its residents.

"We know that more than 700,000 Pennsylvanians have gained Medicaid coverage thanks to its expansion under the Affordable Care Act," Frankel said. "We have to know the impact of a repeal, especially if it cuts Medicaid, as both the U.S. House and Senate repeal bills would. Pushing this state bill without this impact report would amount to turning our backs on Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens and working-class families who are covered under Medicaid."