Corbett reviewing options for Medicaid reform, not expansion, aides say
HARRISBURG — Denying reports that he has agreed to Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, aides to Gov. Tom Corbett said on Thursday he is reviewing options for Medicaid reform that he will outline next week.
“This is not Medicaid expansion,” Jennifer Branstetter, the governor's policy director, told the Tribune-Review.
Communications Director Lynn Lawson said Corbett “does not support growing an entitlement program, as he has been very clear about the need for reform. There are a number of interesting options to consider, and they are currently under review.”
One option could be to utilize private-sector health plans, rather than increase Medicaid enrollment. Iowa and Arkansas are considering such an approach. That would enable the states to get federal money for backing expansion and buy private insurance for low-income residents.
About 800,000 Pennsylvanians don't have insurance.
Since January, Corbett has negotiated with the federal Health and Human Services Department on Medicaid, asking for more flexibility in administering the program. He wants reforms that include premiums for people on Medicaid above certain income levels and work requirements for those enrolled.
On Monday, he'll likely formalize those negotiating points into a plan to present to HHS.
Todd Shamash, a deputy chief of staff, said Corbett seeks a “solution to improve health care access for Pennsylvanians, as well as reform to Medicaid.”
Corbett is expected to continue to pursue keeping the Children's Health Insurance Program intact under the Affordable Care Act. Federal regulators on Tuesday denied an exception to retain the program, known as CHIP. As a result, 50,000 children could move to Medicaid. More than 180,000 children are enrolled in CHIP.
State officials say Medicaid benefits are higher, but the change could disrupt physician coverage, because some doctors won't accept Medicaid.
Administered by states, the federal health insurance program provides free or low-cost coverage to more than 50 million children, families, pregnant women, and people with disabilities nationwide.
As an attorney general before becoming governor, Corbett was one of several attorneys general who sued to block the Affordable Care Act that became known as Obamacare. A Supreme Court decision last year upheld the law but left Medicaid expansion up to states.
Pennsylvania is one of 13 states whose governors have refused to expand under the federal plan. Corbett repeatedly has warned that state taxpayers can't afford the cost when federal money runs out. Critics say he would forgo millions of dollars from the government by not expanding.
If Pennsylvania agrees to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act's provisions, it would become the 27th state to do so.
Democrats in the Legislature are pushing for the expansion, saying it would provide $180 million more for the 2013-14 budget. Corbett administration officials suggest that number is wrong and that long-range predictions are too optimistic.
Facing re-election next year and with dismal ratings in public opinion polls, Corbett's position likely will become a campaign issue. He had not ruled out an expansion of the program while negotiating with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates grind out extra-inning win against testy Tigers
- Shopping season starts up for Penguins amid onset of free agency
- Police identify Harmar man as victim in Washington Township crash
- Penguins notebook: Sheary hoping to return to organization
- 1 killed, several hurt as police chase ends in Oakland crash
- In historic vote, Legislature approves bill selling state liquor stores
- Pittsburgh police solve fewer homicides
- Pennsylvania Senate passes $30.1B GOP budget; Gov. Wolf veto likely
- Source: Fire at black church in South Carolina wasn’t arson
- Union to work while ATI talks continue
- 10 escape Greensburg house fire