The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 7, 2014

Blocking efforts to help families

— I’d like to respond to a recent article in The Daily Item in which Sen. Toomey attempted to discredit the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the minimum wage.

The ACA has actually done a lot of great things for millions of Americans. Even the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the ACA “spurs employment and would reduce unemployment over the next few years.”  

In addition, the health care law provides preventative care services to women, including gestational diabetes screening, breast-feeding support and domestic violence screening. It also ensures coverage is available to 700,000 Pennsylvanian children with pre-existing conditions. With the help of health care reform, more than 45 million uninsured Americans are able to get access to health care coverage. The law also makes prescription drug coverage more affordable for 200,000 Pennsylvanian seniors by closing the so-called “donut hole” in drug coverage.  

During his speech at the Degenstein Library, Toomey also attempted to distort the facts about raising the minimum wage. The truth is that the increase in the minimum wage would have lifted almost 1 million people out of poverty while increasing the wages of 15 million people, according to the CBO.

Toomey — of all people — should recognize that an increase in the wage would add an overall positive boost to the economy while less of these workers would also have to rely on taxpayer-funded programs like Medicaid and food stamps in order to get by.

Even other Republican officials, including former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, have discussed their support for increasing the minimum wage. It’s a shame that Toomey consistently attempts to block efforts that will help working families across Pennsylvania.

Rodger A. Babnew, chairman, Northumberland County Democratic Committee

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