Corbett’s Healthcare Plan: A Move in the Right Direction, but We Need Real Medicaid Expansion

Last week Governor Corbett announced he is open to accepting federal funding to insure 500,000 or more Medicaid-eligible Pennsylvanians via a private insurance exchange.

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One Pittsburgh at a Medcaid Expansion rally in Harrisburg in May.

This year One Pittsburgh had been protesting both in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, rallying for Corbett to accept the funds from the Affordable Healthcare Act to expand Medicaid. Corbett did nothing while a bipartisan budget that included Medicaid Expansion passed the state Senate but not the House.

The fact that Corbett moved from his stubborn position of doing nothing to suggesting that he may take the funds to insure hundreds of thousands of working Pennsylvanians is proof of our work.

However, this is not the ideal plan. It may not even be approved by the Federal government, and it’s not certain how much funding Corbett would take. We need to push him towards true Medicaid expansion.

The most simple way to expand health-care to low-income Pennsylvanians is to take all of the federal funding to expand the already in place Medicaid program. The federal government would pay for 100% of the cost initial expansion for the first 3 years, and then no less than 90% of the cost of expansion after that.[1]

This would cover up to nearly 700,000 Pennsylvanians, and their access to preventative and early healthcare would translate in $822 million to $1.6 billion in savings to Pennsylvania.[2]

It also could have a net positive impact on the economy with 40,000 new jobs created and $5.1 billion in new economic activity from the new funding coming into the state.[3]

It’s unclear if or how Corbett’s plan would match that, as it asks those vulnerable enough to need Medicaid in the first place to pay monthly premiums on private insurance and to jump through hoops like ‘job searching requirements’ in order to be insured.

The spirit of the new healthcare law is to lower everybody’s costs by making insurance easier and more affordable to get, and Corbett’s plan seems to be not as easy or affordable for either those needing insurance or for taxpayers.

It’s time for Corbett to stop listening to radical politicians like Mike Turzai and Daryl Metcalfe and put real Medicaid expansion in place as so many Republicans in the state Senate did when they voted for a bi-partisan budget earlier this year.

 


[1] Pennsylvania Health Access Network, “Making the Right Choice for Pennsylvania: Expanding Medicaid will boost local economies, grow jobs and cover half-a-million Pennsylvanians.” p. 11

[2] Families USA and Pennsylvania Health Access Network, “Pennsylvania’s Economy will Benefit from Expanding Medicaid.” February 2013. p.9

[3] Pennsylvania Health Access Network, “Making the Right Choice for Pennsylvania: Expanding Medicaid will boost local economies, grow jobs and cover half-a-million Pennsylvanians.”  p. 7

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