“Care Force One” Makes Stop in Pittsburgh on National Bus Tour
(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) – Today, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined with doctors, nurses, SEIU, Planned Parenthood, and Pennsylvanians living with pre-existing conditions at the Pittsburgh City-County Building to speak out against the devastating repercussions of health care repeal. You can watch the full video here.
The event was part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour calling attention to Republicans’ attempts to sabotage health care, including a lawsuit that would gut protections for Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions.
“The Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage for millions of Pennsylvanians, especially those living with pre-existing conditions, and I will do everything in my power to protect that coverage. It is an abdication of duty for Attorney General Sessions to refuse to defend the constitutionality of the ACA in the Texas v. Azar case. He is wrong, both morally and on the law, and I refuse to allow Pennsylvanians to be bound by the results in that case,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Now more than ever, we need our elected officials to stand up and defend the protections created by the ACA.”
“I’ve been an emergency physician for more than 30 years, and I’ve seen firsthand how devastating exclusions for pre-existing conditions was for patients. And I have seen just how beneficial the ACA has been for patients and their families,” said Dr. Geoffrey Ruben. “We need leaders in Washington that will stand up for all Pennsylvanians – especially those many, otherwise productive individuals with pre-existing conditions.”
“Medicaid gave my little girl the ability to swallow and eat, to walk, even to make friends. Medicaid has filled the many gaps in her private insurance, and the protections provided in the ACA for pre-existing conditions and prohibitions on lifetime caps has meant that my daughter can still be covered by insurance,” said Erin Gabriel, a mom to three children with special needs. “Abby now uses hearing aids and glasses, a wheelchair, a speech generating device, custom made braces for her feet, braces for her wrists, and a seizure monitoring device on her wrist. All of them paid for by a combination of our private insurance and Medicaid. All of which could be denied to her if we didn’t have the protections of the ACA.”
Attorney General Shapiro, Erin, and Dr. Ruben were joined by Nurse Michelle Boyle, Liz Klie of Planned Parenthood, Lisa Frank with the SEIU, and Joe DiFazio – a Pennsylvanian living with a pre-existing condition.
“My mother-in-law died at the age of 58 from a treatable chronic disease before the ACA was passed,” said Michelle Boyle. “She was denied insurance because she had a pre-existing condition and couldn’t afford the necessary care and treatment. During my career, I’ve met so many patients that gained health care coverage because of the protections for pre-existing conditions. I’m thankful the ACA created these rules so no one has to experience the tragedy that my family did.”
Liz Klie with Planned Parenthood also participated in the press conference. “The ACA has been the greatest legislative advancement in a generation for women. The ACA has brought 62 million women access to no cost birth control, lifesaving screenings and other preventive health services and it ended insurers ability to charge more for coverage based simply on being a woman or having a pre-existing condition.”
“The Affordable Care Act expanded care to millions of Pennsylvania’s workers and protected them from discrimination by health insurance companies,” said Lisa Frank with SEIU. “If lawmakers and courts roll back the ACA, our members and millions of Pennsylvanians will lose coverage and face significantly higher prices.”
“I’m self employed, and if it weren’t for the ACA, I either would be uninsured or I would have had to fold my business and taken whatever job I could that provided insurance,” said Joe DiFazio. “Before the ACA, Insurance companies turned me away because I had a very minor pre-existing condition. Since then, I developed a more serious medical condition, but with the ACA, I’m covered, and at the same reasonable cost as everyone else.”
“The stakes have never been higher for Pennsylvanians’ health care,” said TJ Helmstetter of Protect Our Care. “Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, almost 479,000 Pennsylvanians have gained health insurance. This is all in jeopardy due to Republicans’ repeal and sabotage agenda. Pennsylvanians want this Republican war on health care to end, plain and simple. That’s why we’re here today.”