Healthy PA Program Experiencing Problems
The Healthy PA program, Gov. Corbett’s alternative to a Medicaid expansion, is facing multiple glitches, according to advocacy groups.
Instead of expanding the Medicaid program, Corbett chose to subsidize private insurance. Governor-Elect Wolf campaigned on expanding traditional Medicaid and transitioning away from the aforementioned program.
Antoinette Kraus, Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, said, “We are seeing a lot of issues with Health PA enrollment…the application is asking for information it should not be. Consumers [are] panicking because they applied in December and have not heard back from [the Department of Human Services], and individuals [are] having to file appeals because they were denied when they should not have been.”
A second issue concerns those individuals who should be eligible for drug and alcohol treatment. Some were placed in programs that did not provide the necessary treatment.
Deb Beck, President of the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania, said, “The importance of resolving this can’t be overstated — 2,342 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to an overdose in 2011.”
Kait Gillis, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services, promised that the agency is working on resolving the issues. Gillis said, “We have been working to resolve this [drug and alcohol treatment issue] since the second we found out.”
Estelle Richman, a member of Wolf’s transition team, is pleading with patience as the glitches are worked around. She said, “Have a little patience as the Wolf administration gets on its feet.”
The Wolf Administration still plans on transitioning to the full Medicaid expansion, although the timeline is uncertain.
The Healthy PA Program has faced opposition from Republican leaders as well. Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks), Chairman of the State House Human Services Committee, said, “People on Medicaid are some of our most vulnerable citizens. They have physical and behavioral health problems. They have unstable living environments. Anytime you put more bureaucracy, more obstacles, more letters in front of people receiving their care, there are going to be problems.”