Lehigh Valley

Sen. Casey speaks out against Medicaid cuts as part of healthcare reform

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Bob Casey was in Bethlehem on Monday, voicing his strong opposition to the American Health Care Act, specifically the cuts to Medicaid. The Republican-led bill passed in the House and now heads to the Senate. 

Casey spoke at Northeast Middle School about how he thinks the cuts would have a detrimental effect on the students, the school district, and local tax payers.

Because of the cut proposals, officials said the Bethlehem Area School District could face losing $700,000.

The healthcare bill already passed by the House would cut $880 billion in funding for Medicaid. Casey explained much of the money provides funding for special education, health screenings, and early prevention healthcare programs.

The senator, along with Bethlehem schools Superintendent Joseph Roy, said because of Medicaid cuts, the most vulnerable students -- those in need of medical treatment or physical therapy -- would lose out.

Casey called it an abomination. The senator advocated for expanding the programs, not cutting them, and called the bill an insult.

"No local taxpayer should assume that because they're cutting Medicaid in Washington that somehow taxpayers here are going to be better off. Taxpayers in Bethlehem and this region are going to pay more if Republicans get their way on this Medicaid precision in Washington," Casey said.

The student services funded by Medicaid are federally mandated, meaning schools would need to continue to provide them, however, that money would have to come from elsewhere.

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's office said it's important to remember that the Senate just began its work on the bill and it's too early to know how it will turn out.

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