Pa. House budget chair: No more questions about the Affordable Care Act
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 03.02.17
Rep. Stan Saylor (R - York), at right, during a recent House Appropriations Committee budget hearing. During the hearing, he warned members that he would cut them off if there was any further discussion in budget hearings about the impact of the Affordable Care Act in Pennsylvania.
(Harrisburg) -- The Republican chairman of a powerful state House committee says he'll cut off any members who ask questions related to the Affordable Care Act in budget hearings.
The incident unfolded in a relatively standard budget hearing earlier this week.
Democratic representative Leanne Krueger-Braneky had spent five minutes asking state health officials about the effects of repeal of the ACA.
"...and how it will impact Pennsylvania has come up in almost every hearing so far, so it's top of mind for all of us," she said, as she wrapped up.
Republican Representative Stan Saylor of York, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, then spoke up, "This will be the last hearing it comes up. I'm warning members again, as I've done before that we are not going to guess on ACA."
Saylor went on to say until there's action in Congress, there won't be discussion of the Affordable Care Act in any House budget hearings.
"Until something happens in Washington, we're not wasting the time of this committee to discuss something that is not in legislation or approved by the General Assembly or Washington," he added.
Saylor says he would consider future hearings if a change was made to the ACA.
Democrat Joe Markosek of Allegheny County took issue with Saylor's decision.
"I understand where you're coming from and I guess I'll just go on record to say I don't totally agree with it," he said, in the hearing.
Krueger-Braneky said Saylor's pledge for more hearings if the Affordable Care Act is changed is not enough.
"If we are looking at changes that could cost us billions of dollars, I think we absolutely need to be able to ask those questions of the secretaries coming before us over the next week and a half of hearing and we should not be silenced," she said.
More than a million people in Pennsylvania get health coverage through the ACA.
For more about the impact of the Affordable Care Act, check out Transforming Health's special project Healing and Hurting: Obama's health care legacy.
Published in Affordable Care Act