New Castle News

Closer Look

March 5, 2013

Corbett not budging on Medicaid expansion

CNHI — Gov. Tom Corbett stands alone as the only governor of a large northeastern state to suggest he will not approve an expansion of Medicaid.

Corbett is not without support though, as a small group of Republican lawmakers issued a public plea for the governor to stand firm.

Meanwhile, Democrats and advocates said there is little reason for Pennsylvania to opt out before expansion because there is nothing that would prevent the state from dropping out of the expanded Medicaid program once the federal government’s full funding elapses.

Corbett is working on setting up a meeting to discuss his concerns with Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but a Corbett spokeswoman said Monday the meeting has not taken place and has not been scheduled.

“They are working on it,” Corbett spokeswoman Christine Cronkright said.

Eight Republican governors have agreed to the Medicaid expansion — including governors in the neighboring states of Ohio and New Jersey, as well as those in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Michigan and North Dakota.

The Corbett administration has estimated that participating in the Medicaid expansion that would add 800,000 people to medical assistance would cost Pennsylvania $1 billion through 2014-15 and a total of $4.1 billion. Advocates maintain that the Medicaid expansion would pave the way for $43 billion in federal contributions, beginning with three years in which the federal government would pay 100 percent of the expansion.

“Regardless of the federal government’s claims, the presumption that they will cover 100 percent of the costs of full expansion is simply not true,” Cronkright said.

Seven Republican lawmakers released a joint statement urging the governor to stand firm against Medicaid expansion, arguing it makes no sense to embark on a costly expansion of government services that depends on federal government funding.

“I don’t trust that the federal government will keep its word,” said Rep. Fred Keller, R-85, of Union County, one of the lawmakers who co-signed the letter penned by Rep. Tim Krieger, R-57, of Westmoreland County.

“Many voices have been raised in recent days urging Governor Tom Corbett to reverse his sound decision to reject the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. Unfortunately, some of those voices have come from Republicans lured, once again, by the promise of ‘free’ money,” Krieger wrote in the letter.

Proponents of expanding Medicaid said it will chiefly benefit the working poor. The Maternity Care Coalition developed a list of likely job titles of those who would benefit including: child care workers, cashiers, waiters and waitresses, hairdressers, housekeepers, cooks and hotel desk clerks.

Keller said he has heard little advocacy from constituents in favor of Medicaid expansion. “Most of the comments I’ve heard have been from people saying we shouldn’t be dumping more money into a broken system.”

Rep. Chris Sainato, a Democrat from Lawrence County, said Pennsylvania officials ought to view the expansion proposal as an opportunity for a free pass to provide coverage for hundreds of thousands of people, which can then be dropped without penalty.

“We have three years to see if it is working,” Sainato said. “Our decision should not be made for three years.”

(Email: jfinnerty@cnhi.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • phone.jpg Attorney general warns of phone scams

    Assorted scams in the commonwealth have prompted a warning from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said several scams have been reported to the Bureau of Consumer Protection in recent weeks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • disability.jpg Disabilities group unveils new icon

    Disability Options Network is joining forces with the Accessible Icon Project. Officials of the community organization, located at 1929 E. Washington St., said its new icon will replace the current international symbol for accessibility.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Auditor: State doesn’t have enough inspectors to monitor wells

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • manna.jpg John K. Manna: Measuring the money

    Should we even bother to have an election in November? By some accounts, maybe the results of some contests are already in.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • shooting.jpg Man injured in city shooting

    A man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning following a shooting on West Lincoln Avenue.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • police.jpg Police: Man pulls gun on construction workers

    Construction workers in Neshannock Township flagged down police Thursday claiming a business owner had pulled a gun on them.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Shooting witness arrested for giving false name

    State police have arrested a second Detroit area man after questioning him about Sunday’s fatal shooting in Ellwood City. DeMarco Dorian Hoskins, 22, of Highland Park, Mich., was the third man in a private car that transported the deceased to look for a hospital. Hoskins allegedly gave police a false identity when they questioned him as witness.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • bridgerepair.jpg PennDOT seeks outside help to make bridge repairs

    State officials are poised to sign a massive deal that will enlist outside help to rebuild and maintain up to 600 bridges, marking the Corbett administration’s latest foray into privatizing key government functions.

     

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • GALLO_Natalie.jpg County native plays Clinton intern

    Natalie Gallo isn’t an intern, but she’s playing one on the New York stage.

     

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage