Senate and House Democrats respond to AG’s federal health care lawsuit
HARRISBURG, March 24 – State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Delaware/Montgomery, and state Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, were joined today by colleagues from the House and Senate at a news conference to respond to Attorney General Tom Corbett’s federal health care lawsuit. During the news conference, the group of lawmakers urged Attorney General Corbett to cease and desist in his efforts to strike down the nation’s new health care reform law.
In a letter to Corbett, Leach stated, “Certainly, reasonable minds can disagree on the merits of health care policy in general and the health care bill in particular. However, what is undeniably true is this: if the lawsuit you are contemplating is successful, it will cost Pennsylvania $102 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year and billions more in the short term in years to follow.”
Briggs said he believes the lawsuit is irresponsible. “The attorney general’s attempt to block the recently passed healthcare reform measures from taking effect here in Pennsylvania by filing this lawsuit is morally irresponsible, is fiscally irresponsible, is a blatant example of political grandstanding and, most of all, is an offensive waste of taxpayer money.
“Not only is it a waste of taxpayer money to spend time on a lawsuit that will add to our budget deficit and will be struck down by the courts, but it is offensive to the hard-working taxpayers of this great Commonwealth to waste time and money on this farce at a time when every department in state government has been forced to lay off employees and cut back spending,” he added.
Leach also noted that without the new health care law, this year Pennsylvania would lose the authorization for eligibility by managed care organizations to claim rebates for pharmaceuticals. In future years, if the lawsuit prevails, Medicare drug payment reimbursements from Pennsylvania to the federal government that the new law phases out would cost Pennsylvanians $474 million annually and an additional $200 million to be paid by the Commonwealth to cover the adultBasic insurance program.
“The legislature and Gov. Rendell are counting on the money saved from the health care bill. Fully funding our various Medical Assistance programs and building our general fund are contingent upon the receipt of this money,” Leach said. “Simply put, if this lawsuit is successful, Pennsylvania will be denied the money it is relying on, and we will pay the price by cutting vital services, increasing taxes, and struggling again this year to pass a balanced budget.”
So far, 15 senators and 28 representatives have signed on to the letter.