A half-million more low-income Pennsylvanians are in line to get federally funded health insurance after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday approved the state’s plan to accept Medicaid expansion money under the landmark 2010 federal health care law.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration and the federal agency agreed to a plan that lets private insurers administer Medicaid-funded coverage that adheres to Medicaid’s existing rules. The plan vastly expands a Medicaid program that already covers 2.2 million adults and children in Pennsylvania.
Because of the demands of Gov Tom Corbett the new coverage is going to be needlessly stingier and more complicated than was originally intended. Since Corbett insisted on using subsidized private insurers it may also end up costing tax payer more as well.
That said, this compromise should help hundreds of thousand of poor residents in Pennsylvania gain insurance coverage starting next year, and some of its rules will likely be improved when Corbett loses re-election this November. Polling found him an incredible 25 points behind his Democratic opponent, Tom Wolf.
Thanks to the Supreme Court decision which made the expansion optional and Republican opposition to the the Affordable Care Act there are still 23 states which haven’t taken part in the Medicaid expansion. This, though, is the latest sign that the Republican opposition is slowly eroding thanks to heavy lobbying by hospitals, medical providers, and activist groups.