Establishment politicians in Washington are destroying crucial health insurance protections, even as many of our friends and neighbors here in Pennsylvania’s Fifth District are struggling to get the care they need. The chaos that they are introducing into the nation’s health care system is cruel and unnecessary, and I’m running for Congress to end it.
Make no mistake: these politicians are actively sabotaging the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by taking actions to deliberately and dramatically increase the cost of health insurance. This strategy serves only as an excuse to repeal the law and deliver tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires outside of our district. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but thousands of people right here in our district depend on it for their health insurance, and it is critical that we protect them until we can fix the law the right way.
So what have these politicians done to your health insurance? They’ve made it more costly, they’ve made it more difficult to buy, and they’ve hidden these changes from you.
This month, the White House eliminated the ACA’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies, which lowered out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans by an average of $1,000 per year. Their elimination will impact working class Americans who do not get insurance through their employer the most, increasing premiums for 2018 by more than 30 percent. If Thompson and the GOP had approved the subsidies, the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance was projecting increases of less than 8 percent. This sabotage will hurt your wallet.
The White House also decided to cut the duration of the ACA open enrollment period in half, so that it ends on December 15th, rather than the typical January 31st. This serves only to limit enrollment and decrease the number of people who have access to insurance, thus increasing costs for those who are insured. If you forget to manually enroll, you will be automatically re-enrolled on December 16th, leaving you with no choice but to stay with your plan, even if it is a bad one. You can visit getamericacovered.org to learn how to enroll, and make sure that you are able to make the best choice for you and your family. You can also sign up there to help family and friends get covered.
You’d think that politicians would at least have the courage to tell you about these drastic changes, but they don’t. They’ve slashed the ACA’s advertising budget by 90 percent, and now less than 15% of those who need to know about the deadline don’t know about it. Fifteen thousand people here in the Fifth District could wake up on December 16th surprised to find themselves stuck with insurance plans they cannot afford. Many of them will drop out, causing premiums to go up for those who stay enrolled.
The votes of self-serving Washington politicians like Glenn Thompson show that they do not care that the lives of thousands of people in our district depend on the health insurance they keep voting to destroy. They want a tax break for their millionaire friends and donors, including former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who was recently forced to resign after wasting over $1 million of taxpayer money on private and military flights.
This doesn’t even address the shameful way Congress has treated funding health care for our nation’s most vulnerable children. Congress missed a September 30th deadline to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is relied upon by 31% of the children in our district. For nearly a month, there has not been funding authorized for their care. This is disgraceful.
I was proud to stand with hundreds of thousands of activists across the country earlier this year in the successful fight to protect your health care and stop repeal of the ACA. I’m now running for Congress because I will not stay silent while our friends and neighbors struggle to get the health care they need to live. As your Congressman, I will work to ensure access to high-quality health care at a lower cost. I will not play politics with your health.