HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – U.S. Sen. Bob Casey continued his aggressive resistance to President Donald Trump’s policies Friday morning at the state Capitol.
“We have to stop this bill from becoming law,” Casey said forcefully to a large crowd in the Rotunda for a rally that he hosted.
He was neither his typical mild nor meek in blasting the Republican healthcare plan being considered in the Senate to replace Obamacare.
“It’s the decimation of health care. It’s the ripping away of health care from millions of people, but it also is giving a huge tax cut to the super rich,” Casey said as the crowd booed.
Casey says the plan will push Medicaid costs onto the states, which frightens people with disabilities, especially in Pennsylvania, which is grappling with its own fiscal shortcomings.
“We already have people calling us every day needing services,” said Maurren Westcott, executive director of the ARC of Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. “There’s 14,000 people waiting in Pennsylvania. This is only gonna add to that.”
Several at the rally were in wheelchairs and said flatly that the Republican healthcare plan will kill people.
“We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people who are gonna lose their lives because they didn’t get the health care, they didn’t get that preventive checkup, they didn’t get that screening — and that is really what’s gonna happen, and for what?” asked Allan Goldsworth of Bucks County. “So that rich people can get more money.”
But statewide Republicans think the rhetoric from the Casey rally was a bit over the top.
“I don’t think anyone in the Republican party would say we want to turn handicapped people or those in need away. That’s not our platform,” said David Feidt, Dauphin County GOP Chairman.
He insists it’s Obamacare that sick, failing and unsustainable with its ever-increasing premiums, deductibles and co-pays. He also doesn’t fear state control of Medicaid dollars.
“Having some local input and local say on how dollars are spent is better than having the federal government mandate how we do things, how we spend money, and how we provide for our citizens,” Feidt said.
Nate Benefield of the conservative Commonwealth Foundation insists Medicaid is not being cut under the GOP but rather the rate of future growth would be capped.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Benefield said. “It’s not a perfect bill. It doesn’t do enough to get rid of some of the regulations of Obamacare that would really give patients control over their healthcare.”
But as for the direction of the bill, Casey has his own thoughts.
“You know what I want to do at the end of this week when we vote this thing down?” Casey asked the crowd. “I want to get to the biggest dumpster and throw this right in the trash can.”
The applause was thunderous.