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GOP’s MacArthur Amendment Would Put Affordable Health Coverage Out of Reach for Millions of Pennsylvanians

Statement from SEIU Healthcare PA President on MacArthur Amendment  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 27, 2017

Harrisburg – Matthew Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, issued the following statement today about new Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act through the MacArthur amendment:

“House Republicans are now pushing a new amendment, proposed by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Just a month ago, they failed to pass the AHCA bill that would take away health coverage for 24 million Americans, including 1.1 million Pennsylvanians. It’s outrageous that they’re trying again. This effort is a serious health risk to everyone who, because of their age or medical condition, is most in need of a reliable and affordable healthcare system.

Though the amended bill is advertised as an improvement of the deeply flawed AHCA, the new plan maintains the worst elements of the previous bill.

The House Republicans’ ongoing effort to strip people of protections if they have pre-existing conditions is abhorrent. For decades, half of all Pennsylvanians struggled to find affordable coverage when they had asthma, a heart condition, cancer or even if they were just able to bear children. It’s not surprising that the ACA’s most popular provisions are those that prevent insurance companies from excluding, overcharging, or otherwise discriminating against people who have been ill or who are likely to use health services.

Recent data suggests that Pennsylvania consumers would be hit particularly hard if pre-existing condition protections eliminated.  Women with breast cancer would pay an additional $32,740, people with diabetes would pay an additional $6,390, and people with asthma would pay an additional $4,950 for their coverage. Under this new plan, the average cost of insurance in Pennsylvania would increase by $3,805, as 5.3 million non-elderly Pennsylvanians would be returned to the days where falling ill was the impetus to put affordable coverage out of reach.

The “improved” plan still allows insurers to charge older Americans far more that younger ones, so that in addition to being hit with the surcharges for pre-existing conditions, a 60-year old making $22,000 a year would see their net premiums rise by $9,271.  The new legislation will also allow states to eliminate essential health benefit requirements, requirements that forced insurers to offer real healthcare plans, not just charge people money for coverage riddled with loopholes. The ten required coverages include important things like pharmacy benefits, prenatal and maternal care, and treatment for mental health and substance use disorders.

Gutting essential health benefits returns 4.9 million Pennsylvanians – most of who are covered by employer-sponsored coverage – to a time where they are one illness away from medical bankruptcy.

This plan makes care unaffordable for millions of Pennsylvanians. It undermines our Medicaid program. It destabilizes insurance markets. Altogether, the bill points a wrecking ball at Pennsylvania’s largest industry and wreaks havoc on our budget. We cannot allow our financial stability and health to be undermined by extremists and those with a narrow political agenda. We know the impact of low quality coverage at higher costs from bitter experience. That’s why our union, along with the majority of Americans, wants Congress to stop these dangerous repeal efforts. Pennsylvanians want Congress to keep and improve the Affordable Care Act. We’ll make sure they get the message.”

CONTACT: Amelia Abromaitis – 215-219-4248





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