Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Senator Bob Casey Responds to Republican Attempts to Destroy ACA
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about recent efforts to change our health care system. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
During the week of July 24, 2017, the Senate majority brought several of their health care schemes to a vote. Together with the House majority’s bill, each of these proposals would have increased premiums for middle income consumers and stripped millions of Americans of their health insurance. Some of these proposals would have shredded important consumer protections that individuals have come to count on, in Pennsylvania and throughout our Nation, and some would have decimated Medicaid, hurting children, individuals with disabilities and hospitals throughout our state. Each of these schemes was fundamentally unacceptable, and I voted against each of them. Any changes to our health care system must maintain or expand coverage, quality and care, and the majority’s proposals did not meet that standard. Ultimately, they were defeated on a bipartisan basis.
Although their health care schemes failed in the Senate, the majority could still bring these or similar proposals up for a vote. I do not support these efforts, and I will continue to vote against them. Instead of continuing down a path that would decrease consumer protections and increase the number of uninsured Americans, the majority should instead get serious and work with the minority to build upon and improve our current system. President Trump and the majority in Congress must also commit to properly implementing current law and end their efforts to sabotage our existing health care system. These efforts only harm middle class consumers and families.
We have made significant strides in improving our health care system in recent years: 20 million individuals have obtained health insurance since 2010; insurance companies are no longer able to discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions, women or older Americans; and senior citizens have saved more than $20 billion on the cost of prescription drugs. Even so, I recognize that our health care system is far from perfect and that too many Americans continue to pay too much for their health care and prescription drugs. More work needs to be done, and I am hopeful that the majority and the minority might come together to seek further improvements to bring down the cost of care and to improve its quality.
I am actively working on commonsense solutions to improve our health care system. I recently joined several of my colleagues in introducing a bill to bring down prescription drug costs by allowing the importation of drugs from Canada. I also support creating a Medicare-like “public option” to compete with private insurance and provide consumers with more choices. I have also proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act itself, such as making it easier for families to access the law’s tax credit for health insurance when one spouse already has insurance at work.
In addition, I am pleased that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, of which I am a member, has announced a series of hearings in September on stabilizing the individual health insurance market. These hearings will bring together a bipartisan group of elected officials, state insurance commissioners, insurers and health care providers to talk about steps that can be taken quickly to prevent dramatic increases in health insurance premiums. This is precisely the kind of serious, bipartisan work that the American people deserve, in contrast to the majority’s earlier attempts to ram their partisan proposals through the Senate without a single hearing or markup. Though I regret that it has taken so long for the majority to make a serious effort on health care, I am nonetheless hopeful that this represents the start of a new and more deliberate approach to improving the health care system for all Americans.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.
For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.
United States Senator