ACA repeal could leave 670,000 low-income Pennsylvanians without insurance
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 11.22.16
(Harrisburg) -- A repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act would have a drastic impact in Pennsylvania: hundreds of thousands of low-income residents could lose their Medicaid coverage.
Repealing the ACA means also ending federal support for Medicaid expansion.
In Pennsylvania, more than 670,000 people have enrolled in the program.
The federal government is paying most of the cost, but if Obamacare is repealed, those subsidies would likely disappear.
A state official says Pennsylvania wouldn't be able to take on the added cost, leaving many of the enrollees without coverage.
Franklin and Marshall professor Biko Koenig says it would be a return to the past.
"Then likely they will get insurance at the last moment, through an emergency room scenario, which tends to put the cost on to government," says Koenig.
He adds: "So we would probably expect to see incidents of emergency room visits go back up to pre-Affordable Care Act levels, and that people would not routinely see doctors. And that people would not seek out medical care until they are already sick, which tends to drive up the cost for everybody, regardless of if you're on insurance or not."
To that end, studies from non-partisan groups find an repeal would add to the federal deficit.
Even if the ACA is replaced with tax credits or blocks grants, the state says it won't be able to reach all 670,000 who will lose their Medicaid coverage.
Published in Affordable Care Act