The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a resolution urging Congress to pass bills ensuring coverage of certain health conditions if the Affordable Care Act is declared unconstitutional.
“I think it’s one of the most important resolutions that we will be voting on,” the resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Pittsburgh, said during floor debate. “If the Supreme Court comes down and rules the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional, it will really hurt this commonwealth and hurt the country.”
A federal appeals court panel ruled in 2019 that the portion of the law requiring everyone to have insurance violates the constitution now that the tax penalty for those not covered was removed by Congress.
The case is expected to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Republicans in some states are asking the Supreme Court not to take up the case until a judge in a Texas court issues a ruling on a pending case there.
DeLuca wants Congress to pass legislation that protects people with pre-existing conditions, students and cancer patients, particularly those enrolled in clinical trials.
Pennsylvania is in the process of establishing its own health care exchange after legislation was passed in 2019 and signed by the governor. The bill is an example of how Democrats and Republicans are working together, House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, R-Peach Bottom, said when speaking about the resolution.
“I believe the state exchange that we all worked on and passed unanimously will be an effective and reliable tool for all Pennsylvanians,” Cutler said. “It will lower costs for every Pennsylvanian on the exchange and for anyone who signs up for it in the future.”
DeLuca’s resolution had bipartisan support because it didn’t attempt to rewrite federal law, Cutler said.
“Currently the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and as long as it is, we should encourage Congress to use their power to the best of their ability and in the interest of all Americans so that the solution is one that is for the entire country and not just one state or the other,” Cutler said.
The vote on House Resolution 101 was unanimous, 195-0.