What could happen to Pennsylvanian’s ACA health insurance if Trump wins?

Miss Penn sits on top of the dome at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Thursday, June 29, 2023. (Photo: Matt Rourke, AP)

By Sean Kitchen

March 22, 2024

Three democratic lawmakers warned Pennsylvania voters what could happen to the Affordable Care Act if Trump wins in November.

This upcoming Saturday marks 14 years since then-President Barack Obama signed the landmark Affordable Care Act into law, but Pennsylvania Democratic lawmakers warned it will still be at risk this November if Republicans take back the White House.

Donald Trump has made clear throughout his campaign over the past year that he looks to once embark on another repeal push.

At a campaign event in Iowa earlier this year, Trump called the ACA a “catastrophe.”

“Obamacare is a catastrophe. Nobody talks about it. You know, without John McCain, we would have had it done,” Trump said.

Were Trump successful, it could be a disaster for millions of Pennsylvanians who benefit from any of the ACA’s many protections and benefits.

Over 5 million Pennsylvania residents, and 100 million people across the country, have pre-existing medical conditions, which insurance firms used to be able to use as an excuse to deny coverage to applicants. That’s no longer the case with the ACA law.

On top of that, a record breaking 434,000 Pennsylvanians will have healthcare in 2024 through Pennie, the state’s healthcare marketplace made available from the ACA. The previous open enrollment period saw the highest number of new enrollees with 89,000 people signing up.

“It’s estimated that one in five Americans, predominantly those who are Black, Hispanic and of the working poor, had no insurance before the Affordable Care Act, and the result was the real loss of life and the real harm that was done from not being able to access healthcare,” State Rep. Arvind Venkat (D-Allegheny) said during a press conference on Thursday.

Venkat, an emergency room doctor, shared a horrific story of an older female patient that was uninsured and seeking medical treatment towards the end of his residency.

“No patient exemplified that for me more than a patient I saw late in my residency in 2003. She was in her late fifties, early sixties. She came in with back pain,” Venkat said.

“I very gently asked if I could examine her chest and what I saw was something that I never thought I would see in my medical career. I frankly had only read in the medical history books. Her entire left breast was consumed with cancer. It was as hard as a rock.,”

The patient, who had let the condition go unchecked for months because of her lack of insurance, unfortunately passed away shortly after seeking care.

Venkat spoke at a press conference in Harrisburg on Thursday and was joined by State Rep. Bridget Koiserowski (D-Lackawanna) and State Sen. Maria Collett (D-Montgomery), both of whom worked as nurses before joining the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Lawmakers warned what could happen if Trump retakes the White House in November. Children and young adults up to the age of 26 can get kicked off of their parents healthcare coverage and seniors will be faced with higher prescription costs if the ACA is repealed.

“We can’t let Donald Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans running for every office take healthcare away from millions of Pennsylvanians,” Collett said.

“Here in Pennsylvania, we know that leadership matters, that majorities matter, and when you put the right people in charge, big things happen. We have to work to reelect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and every Democrat who will work with them to protect our democracy, our freedoms and our livelihoods.”

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

CATEGORIES: HEALTHCARE

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