Analysts: Pennsylvania would lose billions under health bill
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania would be one of the states hit the hardest under U.S. Senate legislation designed to repeal much of former President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law and redistribute federal health care subsidies among states, independent analysts said.
Passage of the GOP-penned legislation, due for a vote next week, was in doubt Friday, however, after U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., declared his opposition.
The bill would start slashing federal health care aid to Pennsylvania in two years, according to analysts.
Pennsylvania, meanwhile, would be left to figure out how, or whether, to continue providing health care, long-term nursing care and dependent care to more than 3 million people, or one-fourth of all Pennsylvania residents, according to top officials in Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration.
“We’re left having to decide where we’re going to cut services or who is no longer going to have access to those services and how much we pay providers,” Teresa Miller, Wolf’s acting human services secretary, said in an interview Friday.
Miller, who was scheduled to testify Monday on the bill in front of the Senate Finance Committee in Washington, said it is difficult to grasp the magnitude of the task before Pennsylvania state government if the bill passes.
Pennsylvania would lose billions of federal health care dollars under the proposal, including the more than $1 billion in federal subsidies for insurance plans purchased through the Healthcare.gov exchange, analysts said.
Pennsylvania also would lose money it began receiving in 2015 as one of 31 states that expanded Medicaid’s income guidelines under “Obamacare,” receiving a more generous federal subsidy largely to cover more low-income childless working adults.
In a letter sent Friday, Wolf urged Pennsylvania’s two U.S. senators, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey, to oppose the bill, saying it would precipitate “a fiscal crisis beyond what Pennsylvania has experienced to date.”
Casey opposes it. Toomey, an architect of GOP efforts to cap federal Medicaid spending, said he is still reviewing the legislation to determine whether he will support it.