Thompson: Harrisburg Field Hearing Further Reveals Harmful Impacts of Health Care Law on PA

Glenn Thompson (GantDaily File Photo)

WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5) joined the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee for a field hearing to review the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the health care reform law passed in March of 2010, and its impact on the Commonwealth.    

Thompson is a former therapist and licensed nursing home administrator, and has spent 28 years in the health care industry.  He participated in the hearing, “PPACA in Pennsylvania: One Year of Broken Promises,” at the request of Representative Joe Pitts (PA-16), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.

As governors and state legislatures across the country deal with implementing PPACA’s requirements, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett offered introductory remarks before the Subcommittee.  Department of Public Welfare Acting Secretary Gary Alexander and Acting Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine were among others who delivered testimony at the hearing.   

Statement from Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5):

“Health care reform must be based on improving accessibility and affordability while preserving choice and quality, however, this law is failing across the board.  As we meet the one year anniversary of President Obama’s signature initiative, my worst nightmares have become a reality as the law’s implementation continues to drive up costs, saddle small businesses with burdensome regulations, and imposes unfunded mandates on the Commonwealth, by shifting costs from the federal government to the states. Today’s hearing serves as yet another reminder that we must replace this flawed law with commonsense reforms that decrease costs, increase access, and ensure America remains the place for quality and innovation in health care delivery.” 

Statement from Representative Joe Pitts (PA-16): 

“On the one year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act being signed into law, we are here to examine the effects that the law will have, and is already having, on states. And, we will hear how various provisions in the law are burdening businesses and employers, precisely at a time when we need them to be hiring new employees and creating jobs.” 

Statement from Department of Public Welfare Acting Secretary Gary Alexander: 

“Pennsylvania’s Medicaid rolls, already heading towards a cliff of fiscal instability, will clearly plunge over the edge if federal regulations are not eased. And that includes putting the brakes on this healthcare reform law…Public welfare reform presents us with a great opportunity to use the resources within our commonwealth to transform the structure and operations of the public health system without needless federal intervention and with the best interests of Pennsylvanians in mind, instead of being distracted by the interest of federal bureaucrats…” 

Statement from Acting Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine: 

“Compliance with ACA required Pennsylvania to develop new systems and procedures – all with an associated cost to the state – to ensure compliance. And it was also at this point in our journey that we first saw troubling signs for the road ahead. While from a consumer perspective there are additional benefits as a result of these reforms, these ACA?mandated coverage changes resulted in premium increases of up to 9 percent – this on top of already significant premium increases being seen by Pennsylvania businesses and consumers. Therefore, it is important to stress that the initial reforms have caused an increase in premiums and not a decrease…” 

For additional information and to view the full testimony from today’s hearing, click here.

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5 thoughts on “Thompson: Harrisburg Field Hearing Further Reveals Harmful Impacts of Health Care Law on PA

  1. provoking1

    First, according to Charlie Ragel, who no one will accuse of being a conservative, when questioned about the 40 million without health care, he admitted 40 million people are not without health care, they are without insurance. He said this costs the system 40 billion dollars a year and that the cost is added to those of us who have insurance. So in true form, the Congress comes up with a trillion dollar solution to a 40 billion dollar problem.

    Second, Glenn Thompson does not address a key issue; the federal government does not have the authority to demand that you buy a product. Forget the car insurance bs, that is a requirement if you want to register a motor vehicle. If you want to use ATA, ride a bicycle or walk, you are not required to buy insurance. Why wouldn’t health insurance companies love this bill? People are forced to buy it ! Why wouldn’t hospital administrator love it-they will get a check for everyone! ( That is, until the system goes bust or we are told in 2014-sorry there just arent enough funds to pay for it).

    Third, Thompson should be telling people to support Pennsylvania legislation that preserves peoples right to contract. State Senator Joe Scarnati has a Senate Bill to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to prohibit mandating Pennsylvanians from buying health care insurace. Representative Baker has introduced the Freedom of Choice in Healthcare Act preserving Pennsylvanians right to contract with whom they wish. People miss the right to contract is being infringed upon.

    Bottom line is the federal government is beyond broke. The way they got away with all this unconstitutional garbage for years is they tied strings to getting federal dollars.

    Think about this: a) The federal government takes your tax money
    b) they then redistribute that money to the states. c) money they send to the states or counties they attach caveats to.(mandates) d) those mandates many times include provisions which are unconstitutional (as in the federal government does not have that authority) e) the way they get around it is, the states are not required to take the money. By taking the money, the states are allowing the federal government to infringe upon their authority.

    States (and people) are starting to wise up to the fact that there is no carrot on the end of the string-it is an illusion.

    This bill has never been about healthcare or the needs of the poor. This has been about federal authority. Thompson said early on in the healthcare debate they could pass a law easily that would require that those who had pre-exisiting conditions be covered, but they did not want that as a stand alone bill in the last session.

    Want a parallel to compare with what dieselrider said? A couple years ago SCHIP (a federal program modeled off Pennsylvanias model Children’s Health Insurance Proogram) was expanded to mandate inclusion of all children. At the time , the program administered by Highmark was being subsidized by the Caring Foundation. Basically, those who exceeded the federal poverty level but were within income guidelines for family size, had a private foundation subsidize their insurance premium so that each child in their program could get insurance for $10. When the mandate came in, in less than a year, CARE could no longer underwrite this for people, sending it to state guidelines. Those who fell in poverty guidelines still recieve free insurance. Those just above it received over a 400% increase because the federal government interfered with a model program-breaking it.It sounded good but what was the impact on those who it was intended to help? It was bad political theater with the cost of the show never spoken about.

    I do not understand why our elected officials CONTINUE to fail to constrain themselves to the powers the Constitution grants them to exercise. By exceeding those powers, they violate their oath of office. They read the constitution at the beginning of the session-now how about following it ?

    The health care insurance debate has always been smoke and mirrors. What is the lowest margin of any insurance sold? Health insurance. We hear about dollars that people make, or dollars that companies make but we rarely hear about percentages that they make. Most health insurers make less than 10% “profit”. The amount of money that goes to claims vs. the amount of money it takes for payroll, administration , reserve funds, and then the difference- “profit”. This takes a large amount of capital.

    The federal government does not have the ability to fiscally handle itself in a responsible manner to be trusted to handle reserve funds and operate on a efficiency scale of that proportion. And certainly not under the PPACA. Who can honestly say they think the government could operate on the same margins as an insurer could? Show an example.

  2. Ward11

    What was it W.Bush said…”let the adult children care for the elderly parents.” And what did he say when he failed to figure the GP’s cost for malpractice insurance that many would not afford to keep their practice going which would drive people to ER and over burden hospital cost and his answer “let the GP go to work in the ER’s” Some areas were hit hard and GP’s had to close up office.

    We have a terrible health care system and it seems the republicans especially do not much care. Could be their lobbyist make a fortune supporting PhaRma and health care insurance companies.

    Very few people can afford health care today. Americans are charged 45% more for drugs cost than any other country. Who used more drugs than the elderly. That good insurance you have from a company–forget it–you used it you lose it. Have open heart surgery and then watch how fast your company changes you to another plan that does not pay as well.

    I could go on but let me say this administration saved my life but came somewhat a little late to save my savings or my life earnings on my retiree healthcare which was not supposed to take affect till next year but my company went ahead and started it now due to cut down on the large number a year from now. Now the republicans want to take that away. Most people cannot afford the cost of medications–they are outrageous.

    Where can the average person pay $600 a month premiums? Or $3,000 a year out of pocket drug cost for heart and lung condition which most all older Americans have.

    It is outrageous for anyone be you private citizen or politician say anything about health care when you have no ideas or solutions to correct it. Why blame blame blame –how about solutions. Ideas or better yet how about a plan for affordable health care and drugs for the people rather than hearing nothing but empty barrel noise.

    In spite of the republicans the president has helped many people and I am one of them and I am a registered republican. But I will not vote for anyone against health care. Republicans need to stop getting rich from helping big business and robbing the hard working American people.

    • provoking1

      I would remind you that the cost of your insurance policy is driven up by the government. How? The state governments require that insurers carry very specific coverages to be able to do business in this state. Last time I checked, Pennsylvanian had 51 mandated coverages for policies. Many of the mandates YOU or others would have no need for, but they must be added to the cost.

      To give you a parallel example, imagine all homewoners were now required to carry 1 million dollar liability limits and replacement value for their home in the event of any imaginable disaster. What do you think that would do to the cost of the insurance? Likewise, say we realize that the state minimums on vehicle liability insurance are too low to cover the actual cost of damages that could occur if someone were disabled? Or, the personal insurance you must carry of 5000 is way too low if an accident required emergency surgery.

      If those adjustments are made the same thing would happen to your home and auto insurance that has happened to your healthcare insurance. Legislators over a period of time have added mandates to your insurance policy, many of which may not even be possible for you to use.

      These mandates also serve the purpose of limiting competition in the market.
      I would strongly suggest looking up the mandates placed on Pennsylvania Health Insurance Policies and then address those you deem to be unneeded or unreasonable eith your representaive in the General Assembly.

      I would add in conclusion, the President has no power to give you any insurance benefit. Congress passes legislation that the President signs. The same with budgets. Presidents and governors only propose budgets. Congress and the Assembly make the budgets and send them to the President or Governor to sign. The federal government has no money, they are 14 Trillion -so even Congress does not have the ability to give anyone anything.

      John

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