JUDY WANCHISN: Show support for Medicaid expansion
June 25, 2013 10:30 AM

Pennsylvania needs to accept the $43 billion from the federal government to expand Medicaid so that 700,000 people will have health insurance, tens of thousands of jobs will be created and taxpayers will save hundreds of millions of dollars, but Gov. Tom Corbett and our lawmakers will not take the money.

Pennsylvania has more than a million people living without health insurance and our federal tax dollars are going to go to other states while our governor sits on his pride and lets this state lose big-time.

Other states whose governors were opposed to Obamacare have jumped on board because they know it is a good deal for their state. Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.; Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio; Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and other governors opposed to Obamacare have done so.

Lancaster Online reports Sen. Lloyd Smucker from West Lampeter saying, “I don’t know how you can turn down a program that will provide a service that is needed, that will be entirely paid for by the federal government and that will help a lot of citizens of the state.” Smucker seems to be the first of GOP’s 27 state senators to publicly oppose Corbett and others seem to be leaning in that direction.

Pennsylvania would turn down about $4 billion a year in federal aid that would ease the burden on hospitals that provide millions of dollars of uncompensated care to the needy. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost for three years starting in 2014 and 90 percent in the future.

Republican state Sen. Mike Brubaker is concerned about the costs, but says, “At the same time, our hospitals are serving low-income people currently and in some cases getting paid nothing. I want our hospitals to be financially sustainable.” Smucker added, “At this point, based on what I know and despite the remaining questions, I think it will probably make sense for Pennsylvania to accept expansion.”

Senate Democrats, the minority party, said they will introduce a bill compelling Pennsylvania to accept the Medicaid expansion and contend that the bill will give Pennsylvania an escape hatch if federal funding would evaporate.

A vote is expected in the Senate this week. Call your lawmakers and Gov. Corbett to express your views on the importance of Medicaid expansion.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

Judy Wanchisn

Marion Center

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