The good news is that Republican Senator Pat Toomey held an hourlong televised town hall forum in Harrisburg last week on a wide range of issues but mostly focused on the Republican health care bill.

The bad news is that Toomey continues a misleading defense of the bill as helping Medicaid when it would in fact deliver devastating cuts.

The public forum was Toomey’s first this year in front of an audience. Dozens of demonstrators protested outside WHTM studio against Toomey’s support of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and mocked Toomey’s lack of courage to hold a full town hall-style event.

Toomey insists that the Republican health care bill is misunderstood. He says that the bill cap on Medicaid costs would allow expenses to rise with inflation.

Toomey and other Republican lawmakers are offering “alternative facts” about the impact of their replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

The senator said falsely that the bill “does not pull the rug from anyone currently covered by Obamacare, and keeps the Medicaid expansion.”

Toomey’s claims are specifically important to Pennsylvania, where more than 700,000 people gained insurance through the Medicaid expansion and 360,000 through the exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.

Toomey is right when he says the Senate bill does not revoke expanded Medicaid eligibility.

However, the GOP proposal gradually reduces the federal government’s contributions, while also capping future funding on a per-enrollee basis. The proposed changes to premium tax credits and its elimination of cost-sharing subsidies would affect all age groups, but especially older Americans.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the GOP plan would lead to 15 million fewer Medicaid enrollees and 7 million fewer in the individual market within the next decade.

Pennsylvanians would see a 72 percent increase in out-of-pocket premium costs under the new bill, compared with a national average increase of 74 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health research group.

Pennsylvanians should let know Toomey of their opposition to this bill through letters, emails, phone calls and in person at town hall events.

http://www.phillytrib.com/commentary/toomey-misleads-on-health-care-bill/article_1315c972-b06c-5065-ab94-2447235df73e.html

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