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PHAN Applauds Governor Wolf for Working to Reduce Harm, Hardship Caused by Healthy PA

February 9, 2015

Real Medicaid Expansion Gives Pennsylvania the Opportunity for a Fresh Start on Health Care

PENNSYLVANIA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced his plan to begin the transition from Healthy PA to a traditional Medicaid Expansion, eliminating the red tape, delays and benefit cuts that have frustrated patients and providers since Healthy PA’s rocky start January 1st.

Antoinette Kraus, Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, issued the following statement in response:

“We applaud Governor Wolf for working to free Pennsylvania from the bureaucracy, complexity and confusion caused by former Governor Corbett’s Healthy PA. Our view, which is shared by a majority of voters, is that traditional Medicaid Expansion has always been the best route to creating jobs, covering families and growing our economy.

Ill-conceived and controversial from the start, Healthy PA has jeopardized the health and benefits of low-income Pennsylvanians by disrupting and cutting enrollees’ benefits, delaying coverage for new applicants and piling on new layers of red tape that patients and providers are are forced to fight through every day.

Giving people fewer choices and tools to take care of their health care needs will only lead to worse health outcomes and higher costs. Studies show that interruptions in Medicaid coverage lead to greater emergency room use and significant increases in hospital care for manageable conditions. By acting to move Pennsylvanians into one benefit package, eliminating the invasive health screening questionnaire, and simplifying the process, Governor Wolf is acting in the best interest of patients and taxpayers.

Real Medicaid Expansion will free Pennsylvania from the complexity and inefficiency of Healthy PA, and give a much-needed boost to our economy. In fact, three different economic impact studies have shown what Medicaid Expansion would mean for Pennsylvania: 34,000 new, good-paying jobs by 2016; savings to taxpayers of $520 million over the next decade on money that would’ve gone to treating the uninsured in emergency rooms; and more than $420 million freed up annually in our state budget through 2021.

Today’s announcement demonstrates Governor Wolf’s commitment to making health care more accessible and affordable to all Pennsylvanians. We look forward to working with the Wolf administration to make a full, smooth, and orderly transition from Healthy PA to real Medicaid Expansion.”