PA Democrats voice displeasure over health care executive orders

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HARRISBURG -- Democrats in the commonwealth are expressing their concern over recent executive orders by President Donald Trump that have changed the health care landscape.

Rep. Dan Frankel said he believes actions by the Trump administration are "undermining" the successes of Obamacare.

"Make no mistake, this is an attempt to basically sabotage everything that has been accomplished," said Rep. Frankel. 

Democrats claim the Trump Administration is deliberately making plans available without the benefits and protections of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Vincent Hughes said he believe President Trump's executive orders impacting the healthcare bill will hurt both residents and business owners in the state.

"He is destroying the future and the healthcare reality of American citizens and, in this case, especially Pennsylvanians," said Sen. Hughes.

Greg Manz, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, said in a written statement:

"Obamacare is in a death spiral. In Pennsylvania, Obamacare has led to skyrocketing premiums, fewer options for patients, and higher taxes. President Trump’s executive order allowing consumers to purchase health insurance across state lines will lower premiums and expand access to coverage. This patient-centered policy is a substantial step in the right direction until Obamacare is repealed and replaced by Congress. President Trump is offering solutions to this failed experiment, while Bob Casey and Elizabeth Warren continue their obstruction at the expense of Pennsylvania patients."

Jessica Altman, the acting Insurance Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, said in 2018, insurance premiums in the states individual marketplace are expected to increase 30.6 percent as opposed to the expected 7.6 percent.

 She said her staff is working with insurance companies to make up for the loss in cost-sharing reductions.

 "The tax credit subsidies that families get on the marketplace are benchmarked to the cost of those silver plans so for those individuals that receive subsidies, when their premium goes up, their tax credit is also going to go up to cover that cost," said Altman.

Eyes are on a recent bipartisan "small deal" on subsidies in the U.S. Senate, led by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

Altman said she is watching closely what happens in Washington, D.C. as the November 1 open enrollment deadline looms.

"For the state to make changes, a) we need the federal government to work with us and b) we need it to happen really, really fast," said Altman.

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