Split along party lines, the Valleys U.S. representatives and state officials differed widely on the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring of the Republican House bill, The American Health Care Act, the proposed replacement of Obamacare.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, called the AHCA, — what he called Trumpcare — “a broken promise to middle class families, children in urban and rural communities and seniors in Pennsylvania.”

U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, on Tuesday said he is continuing to review the bill and the impact it will have on residents of the 11th District.

Monday’s CBO report, Barletta said, does not paint the entire picture. “Repealing and replacing Obamacare,” he said, “is going to be a deliberate, three-phase process. The CBO report analyzed only the first phase, not the entire plan.” 

The report, he said, did not account for executive actions that Secretary Price will take in phase two to strip excessive Obama-era regulations. “Nor did it consider legislative proposals, such as allowing small businesses to pool together through association health plans to provide their employees with affordable health benefits, that will come in phase three. These actions will allow consumers to tailor their health plans as they see fit — something that was missing under Obamacare — with the ultimate goal of driving down costs and increasing access to quality, affordable care.”

Gov. Tom Wolf, also a Democrat, said Monday the CBO score “confirms that Pennsylvanians, including seniors and people with disabilities and those in treatment, will be worse off under the AHCA, and that any assurances otherwise was untrue.” Casey and Wolf believe the bill would impose an age tax on older Pennsylvanians and raise costs for their coverage.

“The biggest broken promises in Trumpcare,” Casey said, “are its provisions that would decimate Medicaid and open Medicare up to future cuts. President Trump promised not to touch Medicaid and Medicare, yet Trumpcare would mean cuts in nursing home care for seniors, fewer services for individuals with disabilities and a shaky financial footing for Medicare, which will open the door to the Republican scheme to end the guaranteed benefit of Medicare by turning it into a voucher program.”

Ryan Barton, a spokesman for Rep. Tom Marino, R-10, Cogan Station, said Tuesday night, “The American Health Care Act is a major improvement over Obamacare. The AHCA will lower premiums, reduce the deficit and lower taxes. This health care act will finally give people the freedom to choose the quality of health care that they want.” 

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