Rep. Allyson Schwartz convened a conference call Wednesday, amplifying the message of a new commercial that touts her role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act , while questioning the depth of commitment to the law among her Democratic rivals.
The Schwartz commercial points to her role, as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, in pushing for the enactment of the landmark health care law. It also faults Gov. Corbett for failing to embrace the Medicaid expansion that is part of the law. The Corbett administration is negotiating with the federal government with the aim of gaining the new Medicaid dollars, but using them for a premium support program that would allow recipients to purchase insurance privately.
In her conversation with reporters yesterday, Schwartz questioned the positions of her three rivals, suggesting that they had not been sufficiently outspoken in favor of the law. In particular, she suggested that York County businessman Tom Wolf had displayed “a little vagueness’’ in discussing the measure.
At a brief news conference in Pittsburgh the previous day, however, Mr. Wolf reiterated his support for the law and said he would do “anything in my power,’’ to promote full implementation.
"There's not a dime's worth of difference between Rob McCord and Allyson Schwartz on the Affordable Care Act. If voters are looking for a real difference between the candidates, they should look at their drillers' tax proposals,’’ said Mark Nevins, a spokesman for the state treasurer’s campaign. He referred to the fact that Schwartz has called for a 5 percent extraction tax on natural gas while Mr. McCord has proposed a 10 percent levy.
Mike Mikus, Katie McGinty’s campaign manager, said she, too had said repeatedly that she was fully committed to the law. Mikus said that it was Schwartz who had suggested changes in the law, including a repeal of its tax on medical devices. He also cited criticisms Schwartz has voiced on its creation of an Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel charged with containing the costs of Medicare.
"Katie McGinty has always been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, including the establishment of a Pennsylvania health care exchange,''' Mikuss said. "She has repeatedly criticized Governor Corbett for his failure to expand Medicaid. Congresswoman Schwartz’s statement is mind boggling since Congresswoman Schwartz is the only Democratic gubernatorial candidate who has supported legislation that would weaken the Affordable Care Act while also endangering Medicare.”
Schwartz acknowledged in her call that she had taken issue with some details of the law but emphasized her support for its overall provisions and reminded reporters that no one else in the race had been involved in the legislative process that produced it.