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Chester County Press

Sappey, Dinniman Join Wolf in Calling for Protection of Affordable Care Act

10/21/2020 07:06PM ● By Richard L. Gaw

In remarks he made at the New Garden Township Park on Oct. 15, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf called for the preservation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in order to continue to protect Pennsylvania residents who have ACA coverage as the state enters the flu season and as the number of positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the commonwealth.

Wolf said that the expedient manner in which President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans are securing the judicial nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court would have significant implications to the future of ACA, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.

If Barrett is named to the Supreme Court – which seems likely – she will further tilt the conservative majority of the court to 6-3, and join her fellow judges on Nov. 10 in hearing oral arguments for a Trump administration-backed lawsuit that aims to strike down the ACA.

If the program is repealed, the decision would eliminate the health coverage plan for about 20 million Americans, including one million residents who live in Pennsylvania.

Loss of the ACA could severely impact the health of Pennsylvanians, Gov. Wolf said, especially those with pre-existing conditions, who are only guaranteed coverage due to provisions in the ACA, and who are at greater risk to contract COVID-19. COVID-19 has also been shown to have long-term negative effects on the health of some COVID patients, which could result in additional Pennsylvanians with chronic, pre-existing conditions in the wake of this pandemic. 

Further, Wolf said that the safeguards and preparations that Pennsylvania has taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 could be negated if the ACA is repealed and emergency rooms are overrun again with visits for health care that could be easily taken care of in a primary care physician’s office. A repeal of ACA would also cut off access to important preventative services by making this care unaffordable to vulnerable populations.


'Good health care is even more important heading into the flu season'

“Pennsylvanians have a right to affordable and accessible health care, and I have always made it a priority to uphold that right,” Gov. Wolf said. “But good health care is even more important heading into flu season, in the middle of a pandemic, while cases of COVID-19 are starting to slowly rise again.

“When Pennsylvanians are unable to afford health care coverage,​ it puts their lives and health at risk, and without the health care coverage the ACA provides, Pennsylvanians may not be able to seek the preventive care that protects them and minimizes their vulnerability to more serious threats to their health, such as COVID.” 

Gov. Wolf has also called on Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey to uphold his own precedent from four years ago, and hold off on voting for a Supreme Court nominee until after the general election. 

During his remarks in Landenberg, Wolf was joined by State Rep. Christina Sappey, state Senator Andy Dinniman, and representatives from local health care organizations.

“I’m honored Governor Wolf was able to join us in New Garden Township today to talk about affordable and accessible healthcare,” Sappey said. “Our families currently have a lot on their plates, but access to healthcare should not be one of their concerns. We should be doing everything we can to remove barriers and to promote good health. Healthy communities are strong communities.” 

“In the face of ongoing uncertainty in the fight against COVID-19 and the beginning of our economic recovery, Pennsylvanians and families deserve to know they can count on their health care,” Dinniman said. “The economic toll of repealing or weakening the Affordable Care Act would be significant. The human impact would be devastating. We must stand together to protect and support the ACA at the very time when Pennsylvanians need it the most.”

A repeal of the ACA would have a devastating effect on Pennsylvania families and their children, said Milena Oberti-Lanz, executive director of Maternal and Child Health Consortium of Chester County (MCHC).

“We understand that the safety net that the ACA provides to Pennsylvania's families is critical,” she said. “As a community-based organization, MCHC is certainly convinced of the necessity of the ACA. Throughout our health insurance enrollment program and home visiting programs, we talk with parents every day about their children’s and other family member’s health needs. 

“One of the reasons more children are covered is because their parents are now covered. One of the most effective strategies to reach eligible but uninsured children is for their parents to have coverage, which the ACA made possible for many Pennsylvanians.  

 

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected]