I was encouraged to learn about Gov. Tom Corbett’s recent meeting with U.S Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. I was hoping he would see the error in his beliefs and decide to accept federal money for the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The expansion of Medicaid would make a huge difference for Pennsylvania residents, and it would also help improve the state’s economy. The math is simple. More than 600,000 uninsured adults would qualify for health care coverage, cutting the state’s uninsured rate in half. The expansion would also support more than 41,000 jobs in Pennsylvanian’s health care industry. With the state’s unemployment rate being higher than the national rate, I don’t think this is an opportunity we can afford to turn down.
This expansion would come at no additional cost to the state for the first three years, as it would be funded through federal money. After those three years, the federal government would still pay no less than 90 percent. This isn’t a handout from the federal government, though. Pennsylvania’s industrious population has paid its fair share of taxes, but Corbett wants to give up this money and send it to all the other states that have chosen to opt-in to the expansion.
The Republican governor of Ohio, John Kasich, understands this, which is why he has enrolled his state into the expansion. So far, about half of the states have already enrolled in the program, putting Pennsylvania at risk of being left behind. By expanding their Medicaid programs, these states will reap several economic benefits, including stimulated job growth and savings on uncompensated care costs.
There are almost 1.4 million currently uninsured Pennsylvanians who don’t have access to basic health care such as preventative treatment, immunizations or prescription drugs. These people are our neighbors, friends and maybe even our family members. That is why I am joining with physicians, consumer advocates, economists and other lawmakers from both parties to implore the governor to reverse his decision and enroll Pennsylvania into the expansion of Medicaid.
Rep. Ed Neilson
169th Legislative Distric