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MEDICAID EXPANSION: How it happens

by The Associated Press on September 17, 2013 10:00 AM

MEDICAID EXPANSION: Hundreds of thousands of low-income Pennsylvania adults could get health care coverage now that federal law expands Medicaid’s income eligibility guidelines to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $31,300 for a family of four. The sweeping 2010 federal health care law initially promises to foot 100 percent of the bill to expand Medicaid eligibility beginning Jan. 1. After the first three years, the federal share gradually declines to 90 percent and the state pays the remaining 10 percent.

THE 2010 HEALTH CARE LAW: President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law had required states to go along with the Medicaid expansion as a way to ensure more residents have health insurance and that hospitals see fewer uninsured patients and need less financial assistance. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not force states to expand Medicaid, effectively making it a state-by-state decision.

CORBETT’S STANCE: Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, sued unsuccessfully to overturn the 2010 federal health care law and contends Medicaid is bloated and costly. He will insist on various conditions to pare back Medicaid coverage and push more costs on to enrollees, and seek approval to use federal Medicaid dollars to help the uninsured buy private insurance policies instead of expanding traditional Medicaid coverage.

OTHER STATES: Thus far, 24 states and Washington, D.C. — including Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and West Virginia are planning to accept the federal Medicaid expansion money, according to an Associated Press tally. Another 18 largely Republican-controlled states are declining a Medicaid expansion and eight states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania, are considering it. Nine of Corbett’s fellow Republican governors support a Medicaid expansion, although not all have succeeded in persuading their state’s lawmakers to join them.

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