Trumpcare is especially tough on Pennsylvania
Trumpcare in its current form would abandon millions of people with pre-existing conditions and make their lives scarier and harder; bust Pennsylvania's budget and eliminate access to health care for many residents; and bankrupt many working people and middle class families facing serious health crises -- not to mention eliminate thousands of jobs across the state
An Independent Fiscal Office report this week on state revenue collections reveals Republican budgeting has added another $1 billion-plus to Pennsylvania's growing deficit -- a deficit that could reach $3 billion by the end of the next fiscal year.
As if that weren't bad enough, their Republican partners in the U.S. House of Representatives just voted to make Pennsylvania's problems much worse by passing Trumpcare legislation. Trumpcare has tremendous implications for Pennsylvania residents -- and the state budget.
It would strip 1 million state residents of their healthcare coverage, cut Medicaid funding that provides health services to millions of older Pennsylvanians and people with disabilities, and torpedo healthcare jobs and struggling hospitals in many Pennsylvania cities and rural communities.
Pennsylvania relies on Medicaid to care for senior citizens and people with disabilities more than almost any other state in the nation. This care is expensive, and the Trumpcare legislation does not keep pace with their needs.
With its huge budget deficit, Pennsylvania will find it extremely difficult to make up for Trumpcare's cuts in federal Medicaid funding. The Republican bill leaves Pennsylvania with a choice between cutting healthcare for people who need it or increasing state and local taxes.
Trumpcare also gets rid of the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act that allows individuals and families to afford their health insurance. It replaces those income-based subsidies with much smaller tax credits that are tied only to age and that don't vary by income or the cost of health coverage where people live.
Trumpcare doesn't protect people with pre-existing conditions. With a waiver from the state, health insurance companies would be allowed to turn people with pre-existing conditions away or charge them higher rates than healthy people.
There is no "essential health benefits" provision in Trumpcare that requires policies to cover essentials like doctor visits, hospitalization and prescriptions. This frees up insurance companies to sell policies that cover very few services.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, Trumpcare enables insurers to sell plans that cover a smaller percentage of people's typical medical costs, meaning patients will pay higher deductibles and be on the hook for more out-of-pocket costs.
Trumpcare provides a huge tax cut for the wealthy. If fact, of the total tax savings Republicans claim would result from Trumpcare, nearly 50 percent go to wealthy people earning more than $1 million a year. On the other hand, the tax credits offered to most Americans under Trumpcare would not be enough to offset cuts to their healthcare benefits or premium increases.
Since Republicans rushed Trumpcare through the U.S. House before the CBO had a chance to analyze it and score its impact on residents and the economy, it's hard to completely predict the fallout for Pennsylvania's residents and budget. Also, leaders in the U.S. Senate have already made it clear they will be writing and attempting to pass their own version of the bill. No one knows what a final Affordable Care Act repeal might look like, or if it can become law.
Several things are clear, though. Trumpcare in its current form would abandon millions of people with pre-existing conditions and make their lives scarier and harder; bust Pennsylvania's budget and eliminate access to health care for many residents; and bankrupt many working people and middle class families facing serious health crises -- not to mention eliminate thousands of jobs in communities across the state.
More than anything, it mocks any notion that conservative Republicans care about anyone but the wealthy and well-connected.