Pennsylvania Senate Rules Committee Chooses New Track for Medicaid Expansion Battle
Harrisburg, PA (July 3, 2013) — Today, members of the Pennsylvania Senate Rules Committee opted to cease further delay in passing a welfare code bill by accepting the House version of HB 1075, which had been stripped of language requiring Governor Corbett to move forward with an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Antoinette Kraus, Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network issued the following statement in response:
“On Monday, 17 Republicans joined 23 Democrats in making the fiscally responsible choice to use new federal funds to extend health care coverage to over 500,000 working Pennsylvanians — a move that will save state taxpayers billions of dollars over the next decade and create 40,000 new, good-paying jobs across the Commonwealth.
Unfortunately, demonstrative bipartisan action in the Senate wasn’t enough to move the House from blocking further progress. On Tuesday, the House voted to strip the Senate’s language from the welfare code that would’ve allowed Pennsylvania to expand Medicaid on July 1, 2014, if certain conditions were met.
While we are disappointed that the Senate chose to allow the House to obstruct progress on expanding Medicaid, we recognize that HB 1075 is not the only vehicle to move forward on bringing the benefits of Medicaid Expansion to Pennsylvania.
The cost of rejecting Medicaid Expansion — in lives, lost jobs, and higher taxes — is too great to bear. We will continue working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to bring the benefits of expanding Medicaid to Pennsylvania.”
The Affordable Care Act gives states the opportunity and the funding to extend Medicaid coverage to working adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $15,900 for an individual and $32,400 for a family of four in 2014). Under the new law, the federal government will shoulder 100% of the cost of extending coverage from 2014 – 2017 and 90% in the years after that.
Language approved by the Senate gives Governor Corbett the flexibility to preserve Pennsylvania’s CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) as an option for children eligible for Medicaid coverage and modify the benefits package for newly-eligible Pennsylvanians. In addition, lawmakers are seeking to enact “reasonable employment and job search requirements for those who are physically able,” and secure continued federal support for Pennsylvania’s gross receipts tax on Medicaid Managed Care providers.
The legislation also includes a provision to halt Pennsylvania’s participation in the expansion if the federal government’s support falls below the levels established by law in the Affordable Care Act.