House Democrats fight for healthy people and a strong economy in PA
HARRISBURG, March 28 – With the president leading a renewed push to dismantle affordable healthcare coverage in the United States, a group of House Democratic lawmakers are reinforcing their commitment to a package of proposals designed to make sure people in Pennsylvania can always afford to see a doctor when they get sick.
The “Healthy People, Stronger Economy” plan protects consumers even if special interests are able to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The plan contains four bills putting people first, including:
Protecting Your Coverage, Protecting Your Health (HB 469) – sponsored by Reps. Tony DeLuca and Dan Frankel, both of Allegheny County – recognizes that a consumer paying for an insurance plan that doesn't cover items as basic as hospitalization and emergency services has insurance that is almost worse than having no insurance at all. The bill guarantees all insurance plans sold in the state cover 10 essential benefits:
• emergency services;
• prescription drugs;
• maternity & newborn care;
• mental health & substance abuse disorder services;
• laboratory services to aid in diagnosis and treatment;
• chronic disease management;
• ambulatory patient services; and
• pediatric services, including oral and vision care.
"If the Federal Health Care Reform law is ever abolished by the United States Supreme Court or the Congress, you could be left with health insurance policies that don’t cover the essential services you may need covered, therefore causing you to pay out of pocket. This would be devastating and could happen to you,” DeLuca, the Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, said. “My bill guarantees essential health benefits to better protect and cover you and your family.”
Can’t Deny Pre-Existing Conditions (HB 1013) – sponsored by Rep. Peter Schweyer, Lehigh County – prohibits insurers from using a consumer’s pre-existing condition to deny coverage or a chance to purchase a policy if the ACA is eliminated.
“In 2019 we shouldn’t be talking about denying healthcare coverage to a pregnant woman or a child with cancer,” Schweyer, a former administrator at a hospital providing care to a low-income population, said. “These people deserve to have a chance to get covered and get the medical care they desperately need.”
Your Health Care, Your Decision (HB 913) – sponsored by Rep. Mark Longietti, Mercer County – helps protect younger adults by allowing families to have a larger voice in the decision to stay on a parent's insurance until age 26, instead of allowing extended coverage to be decided solely by the parent's employer.
"Young adults often take entry level jobs without healthcare benefits or are completing their education,” Longietti said. “Allowing them to stay on their parent's health plan until age 26 not only provides them with critical access to doctors and hospitals, but will also help keep them in Pennsylvania."
Prohibiting Lifetime Health Insurance Limits (HB 470) – Sponsored by Reps. Dan Frankel and Tony DeLuca – makes sure people’s benefits can’t run out when a corporate accountant decides it’s time to stop paying.
“Health insurance that doesn’t allow for medical care because ‘it’s just too expensive’ misses the point,” said Frankel. “Health insurance should provide the care that people need in a crisis. That right to care doesn’t go away because the treatment they need costs more than some limit chosen by an insurance company.”
The lawmakers said their bills are more important than ever with this week's court filing by the federal Justice Department asking the Supreme Court to throw out the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. Access to health care for working families, senior citizens and people with pre-existing conditions is under attack once again, the legislators said, and Pennsylvania must make sure its residents are protected.