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
  • money.jpg AFSCME, county back to bargaining table

    A courthouse labor union and county government officials hope to try a third time to reach a contract agreement. County administrator James Gagliano, who represents the county’s collective bargaining team, said talks are scheduled for May 2 between county negotiators and members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2902.

    April 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • tv04.jpg New Castle director, writer, producer filming zombie pilot locally

    The horror genre holds a special fascination for Tom Stoops. He has been a devotee of that film style since he was young. So it makes perfect sense that as a director, executive producer, writer and actor, zombies would show up in his latest project.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • money.jpg Neshannock trail to be integrated regionally

    Construction of a downtown section of the Neshannock Creek Trail is expected to commence this summer. Lawrence County planning director Amy McKinney briefed the county commissioners yesterday on a 1,400-mile trails project initiated by Power of 32.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shale royalty meeting for landowners planned

    Lawrence County residents who have questions about royalties on gas drilling leases are invited to a meeting tomorrow.

    April 23, 2014

  • Townships to pave roads

    Youngblood Paving Inc. was awarded a contract for this year’s road maintenance in North Beaver and Little Beaver townships.

    April 23, 2014

  • oneill.tiff Union principal receives award

    Union Area School District’s elementary principal will receive the 2014 Distinguished Female Educator Award. The award from the Tri-State Area School Study Council is to be presented April 24 to Linda J. O’Neill during the 12th annual Dr. Jean Winsand International Institute for Women in School Leadership at the Edgewood Country Club in Penn Hills.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Good to grow: Library to offer seed lending program

    Patrons of the New Castle Public Library will soon have another service to look forward to. For newcomers to gardening and seasoned pros, the library is having — for the first time — a seed lending program.

    April 22, 2014

  • Knives prompt reporting of school violence

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons. They were knives, similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education.

    April 22, 2014

  • Ferannte.tiff Upholstery shop showcases music, talent

    Following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Jim Ferrante is working to improve his community.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local pastor helping fire victims

    A local pastor is opening up donation avenues to help two families who lost their homes to fire this week.

    April 18, 2014

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