Obamacare: Time for PA to Expand Medicaid

Obamacare: Time for PA to Expand Medicaid


By the Philadelphia Tribune

If Arizona can expand Medicaid for the working poor why can’t Pennsylvania?

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law expanding the state’s Medicaid program on Monday.

Brewer signed the law following her victory over conservatives in her own party opposed to embracing a key part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The controversial governor, known for her outspokenness on immigration and the health care overhaul, fought the law but agreed to add more than 300,000 poor Arizonans to the program after the Supreme Court found it was constitutional and Obama was re-elected.

Meanwhile working poor Pennsylvanians are still waiting for the Republican-majority in the state legislature and Republican Gov. Tom Corbett to expand Medicaid.

Corbett has yet to decide whether to expand government-funded Medicaid health coverage to include hundreds of thousands of low-income Pennsylvania under the federal Affordable Health Care Act.

Pennsylvania Democrats failed last week in their attempts to expand Medicaid to working poor Pennsylvanians.

State Sen. Vincent Hughes, minority chairman of the Appropriations Committee, had planned to add a Medicaid expansion amendment onto a public welfare bill that dealt with turning a 20-county block grant program into a statewide initiative as part of the 2013-14 budget. Hughes plan was tabled and prevented from going to the full Senate.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman R-Centre said he pulled the bill from consideration because Corbett has final say on whether to expand Medicaid and it would not be right to do an end-around on the governor.

Another bill with support from two Republicans also failed.

The Corbett administration is negotiation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to tailor expansion to fit Pennsylvania, said Corbett spokeswoman Christine Cronkite.

It is unclear what is causing the delay.

Three independent studies have touted the financial benefits to the state for expansion. The studies found 350,000 to 600,000 residents would get health insurance, thousands of jobs would be created and the state would reduce its own spending due to an infusion of federal money.

Gov. Corbett, we are waiting on you to join your fellow Republican Gov. Jan Brewer and sign a law expanding the state’s Medicaid program.