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Senator Says Accepting Federal Medicaid Expansion Deal is Still Best Course

December 30, 2013- Don Rooney
HARRISBURG- In response to Gov. Corbett's release of some of the details he's providing to the federal government to win their approval for his "Healthy PA" initiative, Senator Hughes issued a statement on the need for Pennsylvania to simply expand Medicaid. Under the Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania can expand Medicaid to cover the currently uninsured working poor and the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost for the first few years, dropping to 90 percent after that. Senator Hughes' statement:

"Gov. Tom Corbett has begun to offer more details about his proposal to expand health-care coverage for low-income individuals using provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Frankly, I believe that he is headed down the wrong path. The best option for Pennsylvania is to expand traditional Medicaid and provide coverage for more than 500,000 working adults.

"My biggest concern is the length of time it will take to implement Gov. Corbettís proposal. We could have been ready to provide coverage on January 1st if the state had simply expanded our current Medicaid system. Now, we have no clear timeline for how long it will take the federal government to approve a waiver or the convoluted process that Gov. Corbett is proposing. Expanding Medicaid is much more straightforward and the fastest way to expand quality health insurance for working people who deserve coverage.

"Iím also concerned that Gov. Corbettís plan will not provide the budget savings that our state desperately needs. Expanding Medicaid would generate at least $400 million in savings for the FY2014-15 budget. Those savings could be used to fund education, job creation, and other critical needs. Itís unclear if Gov. Corbettís proposal will be able to be implemented before the next fiscal year. Thatís the only way to ensure savings for taxpayers. Again, expanding traditional Medicaid would guarantee significant savings in the first year.

"Medicaid Expansion is the simplest, easiest, quickest, most thorough and comprehensive way to go. It would be approved by the Federal government immediately, coverage would begin immediately, and multiple independent studies have indicated that it would save $400 million in the next budget, which given our budget crisis, is necessary. Letís do this now."

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