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Medicaid expansion: Corbett's push-back

| Friday, May 24, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Always a bad idea, Pennsylvania accepting Obama-Care's expansion of Medicaid looks even worse — and up to $515 million in financial benefits projected by the state's Independent Fiscal Office look even more dubious — in the light shed by Gov. Tom Corbett's acting secretary of Public Welfare.

In a letter to the fiscal office, Bev Mackereth contends:

• it underestimated implementation costs by $59 million

• overestimated savings from shifting General Assistance recipients to Medicaid by $122 million

• and counts on $78 million in new revenue from a gross receipts tax on hospitals that might not continue under Medicaid expansion.

Keep in mind that hospitals' pro-ObamaCare, pro-Medicaid-expansion lobbying is self-serving pursuit of greater hospital subsidies, as Michael Cannon, the Cato Institute's director of health policy studies, points out. And that Medicaid expansion would merely shift taxpayers' burden from the state level to the federal level, rely on Washington keeping its promise to cover “100 percent” of costs for adding uninsured people to Medicaid until 2016, cause more doctors to reject Medicaid patients, increase red tape, destroy private insurance and, ultimately, raise taxes.

The Pennsylvania Independent calls Ms. Mackereth's letter the Corbett administration's first public push-back “against claims the expansion would benefit the state financially.” We call it a heartening sign that Gov. Corbett will spare Pennsylvania the financial pain sure to result from Medicaid expansion.

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