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Senator Bob Casey speaks out on behalf of Medicaid

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, joined with community leaders Thursday in the fight to prevent potential cuts to Medicaid.

Casey accused Republicans of attempting to slash the government program so vital, he noted, to providing health care to senior citizens, children and low-income populations.

The Trump Administration has filed suit to strike down the Affordable Care Act, which provides health care for millions of Americans who would not otherwise afford insurance, Casey said.

“Republicans talk about it (Medicaid) as a problem to be managed,” he said during a teleconference with the media. “That’s the official Republican position for many years now. They want to end Medicaid expansion.”

Casey said COVID-19 has only worsened the health care coverage crisis for Americans.

He noted that hospitals, including those in rural areas, serve many Medicaid patients.

In 25 of the state’s 48 rural counties, the hospital is the largest or second largest employer, according to Casey.

“When you cut Medicaid, you not only hurt health care, you are losing jobs,” he said.

Northumberland County Commissioner Kymberly Best noted the recent closing of Sunbury Community Hospital in her county, leaving many people without a nearby health care facility and some 150 who worked there without jobs.

“We need access to local affordable health care in Northumberland County,” she said. “Healthy communities contribute to a healthy national economy.”

People living in such communities as the Northumberland County community of Herndon must now drive at least 45 minutes to reach a hospital.

Transportation for accessing health care poses a particular challenge for seniors, Indiana County Commissioner Sherene Hess said.

“Instead of dismantling programs, we need to bring quality of life to people,” she said. “I am a proponent of Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania.”

Medicaid, she said, goes a long way to provide health care more people.

Casey said the fight for the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid will be a long one.

“We need more Democrats to win elections,” he said. “That is the political battle ahead of us as far as Medicaid and other political battles.”

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