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The Corbett plan: Fraught with peril.

| Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

In the end, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed needle-threading alternative to ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion serves up a distinction without much of a difference. And he's sure to pay a political price on both sides.

To his credit, Mr. Corbett resisted Medicaid expansion, another in a long line of federal pigs in a poke. And his solution — still accepting federal dollars, not for Medicaid, but to allow the poor to buy private insurance through ObamaCare's dubious insurance exchanges — does introduce commonsense reforms such as its work and co-pay requirements.

But it remains fraught with taxpayer peril.

“Whether new patients are being insured through traditional Medicaid plans or new taxpayer-subsidized health insurance exchanges, the taxpayers still are footing the bill for unsustainable government programs,” says Matthew Brouillette, president of the Commonwealth Foundation.

Corbett's plan will only further limit the poor's access to health care, the Harrisburg think tank concludes.

Republicans can't help but consider the proposal “a retreat from Corbett's decision not to accept the Medicaid expansion,” says Jake Haulk, president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy. State Democrats are calling the Corbett plan “a weak half-measure” that's nothing more than a “handout to insurance companies.”

Such issues, however, might be moot, given that the Obama administration must approve of Corbett's plan. Toploftical as it is, odds are it won't.

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