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Repeal of Health Care Reform Would Hurt Consumers in Southwestern Pennsylvania

Press Release

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Today U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14) released information detailing the impact that repealing last year's health care reform law would have on many residents of southwestern Pennsylvania.

"These reports show just what's at stake in this debate over health care reform," Congressman Doyle said today in releasing this information. "Repeal of last year's health care reforms would raise health insurance costs for most people in southwestern Pennsylvania, whether they're small business owners, retirees, working Americans, or recent college graduates."

"Last year's health care reform law guaranteed Americans freedom from the abusive practices that health insurance companies have employed for years," Congressman Doyle added. "Health care reform took power away from the insurance companies and gave it back to the American consumers.Repeal of health care reform would allow private health insurance companies to go back to cherry-picking low-risk customers and sticking it to the rest of us. I adamantly oppose this effort to repeal health care reform."

"Repeal of health care reform would once again allow insurance companies to discriminate against the hundreds of thousands of working-age Americans in southwestern Pennsylvania with pre-existing conditions, and it would eliminate health care tax credits for a million middle class families and over 80,000 small businesses in our region," Congressman Doyle said. "What's more, it would increase prescription drug costs for the nearly 100,000 local seniors who fall into the Medicare Part D donut hole and eliminate the new free Medicare preventive care benefits the health care reform law now provides to nearly 750,000 of our older friends, neighbors, and family members. Finally, repeal of health care reform would increase the cost of care local hospitals provide without reimbursement by nearly half a billion dollars a year -- and that would hurt everyone in the region."

Last spring, Congress passed landmark health care reform legislation (HR 3590, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, PL 111-148) intended to get sky-rocketing health care costs under control and ensure that all Americans have access to affordable, high quality health insurance.

The bill banned insurance industry practices like discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, dropping policy-holders who needed costly medical care, and placing annual and lifetime limits on the benefits policy-holders could receive. Health care reform also required insurance companies to pay the entire cost of preventive care and to allow policy-holders to keep their children on their insurance policies until they turn 26.

Health care reform will also establish health insurance exchanges -- basically "supermarkets" where individuals and small businesses can shop for insurance policies from a number of high quality private health insurance plans -- and provide small businesses and tens of millions of Americans with tax credits so that they can afford them.

The health care reform law is also helping senior citizens by phasing out the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit "donut hole" and -- as of this month -- covering the entire cost of preventive care and providing a 50 percent discount on Medicare Part D beneficiaries' prescription drug benefits.

Republicans in the House of Representatives have introduced legislation to repeal last year's health care reform bill, and the House is expected to vote on it tomorrow.

"As the health care reform signed into law last year is phased in over the coming years, it will help keep health insurance affordable for seniors, small businesses, and the middle class," Congressman Doyle observed. "In fact, it's already providing real, tangible benefits to hundreds of thousands of consumers in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area."

Earlier today, the Minority Staff on the US House Energy and Commerce Committee released reports detailing the impact that repealing last year's health care reform laws would have on the nation's metropolitan area's and congressional districts. This report concluded that in the Pittsburgh metro area, repeal of health care reform would:

* Allow insurance companies to deny coverage to over a million people with pre-existing conditions, including 160,000 children.

* Eliminate consumer protections for 2.4 million individuals who have health insurance through their employer or the market for private insurance.

* Eliminate health care tax credits for up to 81,700 small businesses and 1.0 million families.

* Increase prescription drug costs for 90,000 seniors who will hit the Part D drug "donut hole" this year.

* Repeal new preventive care benefits for 746,000 senior citizens on Medicare.

* Increase the costs of early retiree coverage for up to 48,900 early retirees who are still covered by their employers.

* Eliminate new health care coverage options for 9,700 uninsured young adults.

* Increase the number of people without health insurance by 90,000 individuals.

* Increase the costs to hospitals of providing uncompensated care by $483 million annually.

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