PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sen. Bob Casey is looking for reinforcements as he prepares to return to Washington to fight the Republican health care bill.
Casey held an event in the Mayor’s Reception Room on Friday aimed at getting opponents of the bill to lobby against it.
“This bill is not really a health care bill. It’s a scheme to give away a lot of money to rich people,” said Casey.
Casey has been energized by the fight against the bill. The normally low-key Casey had a few choice words for it.
“One word is ‘abomination.’ It’s an insult to who we are as a people. We’re Americans, we take care of people, we don’t send them off on their on when they need help,” he said.
Casey says it may end up uniting blue cities, like Philadelphia, with rural areas that voted for President Donald Trump, because the impact would be equally severe in both places.
“No domestic issue is more important right now than stopping this bad bill, and we need you to stay in the fight,” Casey said.
But for local advocates, that would mean lobbying Sen. Pat Toomey, who helped write the bill and has been equally impassioned defending it.
“Now is the time to replace Obamacare with a system that makes care more affordable and accessible,” his office responded in an email. “Senator Toomey has noted numerous times that any Senate health care bill will ensure no one will lose their federal Medicaid eligibility.”
Though the bill does not end Medicaid eligibility, it does end the enhanced federal funding for Medicaid expansion, beginning in 2020.
In Pennsylvania, nearly 700,000 people gained health insurance through the expansion, with 90% of the funding coming from the federal government. Under the Senate bill, 52% of the expansion would be covered.
Toomey has said he believes the state will make up the funding cuts.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 22 million fewer people would have health insurance under the senate bill.
Toomey’s office notes that includes five million people who would pass up Medicaid and eight million people who would choose not to be insured because the bill ends the individual mandate.