Affordable, Quality, Healthcare for Every Pennsylvanian
Known as the “mother of CHIP,” Allyson Schwartz worked with former Governor Robert P. Casey and former Representative Allen Kukovich to establish the groundbreaking Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has provided health coverage to millions of Pennsylvania’s children and served as a national model for President Bill Clinton.
In Congress, Schwartz has built a reputation as one of America’s leading experts on healthcare policy. As a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, Schwartz helped write the Affordable Care Act and fought alongside President Obama to ensure its passage. She has championed provisions to protect Pennsylvania’s children, expand consumer protections, increase access to primary care, and improve benefits for seniors. In 2010, she received the Health Care Hero Award from the Patient Advocate Foundation in honor of her legislative work ensuring that insurance companies cannot deny children coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
While Republican governors such as New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Ohio’s John Kasich, and Michigan’s Rick Snyder have acted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Governor Tom Corbett has chosen a path of politically motivated delays and inaction. This failure has denied desperately needed health coverage to more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians and hurt the Commonwealth’s economy. Expanding Medicaid would add more than 40,000 jobs and $5.1 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy by 2016.
Schwartz knows that expanding Medicaid is both a moral and economic imperative. No one is better prepared than she is to expand access to lifesaving and affordable health coverage and to control costs for Pennsylvania’s families.
Expanding Access to Quality Care
Expanding Medicaid and Launching A Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange
Schwartz knows that providing coverage to over 500,000 additional Pennsylvanians by expanding Medicaid is vital to the health and financial security of Pennsylvania’s working families. In addition, it will bring millions of dollars to Commonwealth, contribute to economic growth, create new jobs in the healthcare sector, and contain costs for all of us.
That is why Schwartz is leading the fight to expand Medicaid. In June 2013, she led a letter, co-signed by her fellow Pennsylvania Democrats in the House of Representatives, to urge Governor Corbett to show leadership and move forward without delay to expand Medicaid coverage.
As governor, Schwartz will ensure access to affordable quality health coverage for all Pennsylvanians by expanding Medicaid, creating a Pennsylvania-run health insurance exchange, and implementing delivery-system reforms that bring down costs.
Protecting Pennsylvania Children
The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition and allows young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance policy until age 26, bridging the difficult gap in coverage between high school, college, and early employment.
Schwartz championed both provisions. She introduced the Children’s Health Protection Act to end pre-existing condition bans for children and urged Congressional leadership to protect young adults in the ACA. These provisions have benefited more than 600,000 children and almost 100,000 young adults in Pennsylvania.
Ensuring Women Have Access to Affordable, Quality Healthcare
The Affordable Care Act significantly strengthened health benefits for women. Insurance companies can no longer discriminate based on gender or charge women higher rates. Women’s preventative care is now covered through insurance plans, including well-woman visits, mammograms, pap smears, and contraception — without co-payment, co-insurance, or a deductible.
Strengthening Primary Care
In Congress, Schwartz introduced the Preserving Patient Access to Primary Care, which was incorporated into the Affordable Care Act. It is now working to enhance the role primary care plays in providing quality care, improving health status, and reducing costs.
Holding Insurance Companies Accountable
To make shopping for coverage simpler and more transparent, Schwartz introduced the Informed Consumer Choices in Health Care Act to provide consumers with tools to compare insurance plans. Schwartz fought to see her bill included in the Affordable Care Act. She also supported provisions to end lifetime and annual limits on health coverage, and to require that insurance companies spend more of their premium dollars on medical services.
A Champion for Seniors
Schwartz has been endorsed five times by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and has a perfect lifetime voting record with the Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2012, she received the Claude Pepper Award from the Alliance for Aging Research for her leadership in healthcare policy for seniors.
She has determinedly opposed Republican attempts to end Medicare as we know it and to privatize Social Security. She also introduced the bipartisan Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act to protect Medicare beneficiaries’ access to their personal doctors. The bill repeals the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate, which has threatened to impose unacceptable cuts to Medicare’s payments for physician services for seniors. Schwartz’s bill promotes greater efficiency, quality, and value in healthcare delivery.
Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Health Economy
A Leader for Pennsylvania’s Teaching Hospitals
Pennsylvania is among the leaders in teaching hospitals with more than 30 across the Commonwealth, and Schwartz has been their strongest champion in Congress. She initiated the bipartisan Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus (CAMC), which is “dedicated to maintaining and strengthening our nation’s reputation as having the world’s most advanced medical care.”
Investing in Health Information Technology
Schwartz helped lead the congressional effort to include $19 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for investments in health information technology. Health IT will improve health outcomes for patients and save billions of dollars in duplicate testing.
Moving Doctors Toward Electronic Prescriptions
Schwartz successfully championed legislation to require that doctors begin writing their prescriptions electronically. This will prevent deaths and illnesses caused by illegible prescriptions and could save billions.
Championing the Life Sciences
In Congress, Schwartz championed the groundbreaking Therapeutic Discovery Project, a $1 billion tax credit program for small biotech companies that encouraged investment in new therapies and provided Pennsylvania companies with needed capital. More than 150 Pennsylvania companies benefited from initiative. In 2011, she was named the “Federal Public Official of the Year” by Pennsylvania Bio, which represents Pennsylvania’s life science industries.
Making Greater Investments in the National Institutes of Health
Schwartz has also pushed for greater investments in federal research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She introduced the Inspiring Scientific Research and Innovation Act to provide the NIH with $3 billion in additional funding, paid for by closing a wasteful tax break for corporate jet owners.