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Corbett Unveils Medicaid Plan Based on Private Insurance

Gov. Tom Corbett

Governor Tom Corbett released his own statewide healthcare initiative today at the PinnacleHealth Harrisburg Hospital. Under his “Healthy PA” plan, the state would accept public dollars to finance private insurance for 500,000 Pennsylvanians.

“Washington can not and should not tell citizens want they can buy,” Governor Corbett said. “We should not have a one-sized fits all solution from Washington. I believe we must build a plan from the grassroots up growing the private healthcare market while reducing government intervention.”

The plan is similar to proposals in Arkansas and Iowa. Unlike the those plans, however, Corbett’s proposal would add a requirement that beneficiaries be actively seeking employment.

The issue concerns the Medicaid expansion that was included in the Affordable Care Act. Under the law Medicaid, the federal healthcare program for low-income Americans, would be expanded to everyone earning 138 percent of the federal poverty level. In the Supreme Court decision which upheld Obamacare, however, the Court ruled that states could decide whether to accept these funds.

Since that time, Gov. Corbett has been faced with the issue of whether to accept the funds. For the first three years, the federal government will cover all the costs of the expansion. After that the share will gradually decline but will stop at 90%. Corbett, however, is still fearful of costs.

“We can not afford to expand the current Medicaid program,” he stated. “It’s not sustainable to increase the number of Pennsylvanians who rely on this entitlement.”

There was a clear political aspect to the Governor’s proposal. The announcement comes mere months after he said he was unlikely to accept federal funds from Obamacare. Additionally he was careful to avoid the word “expansion,” something anathema to conservative activists, when describing his plan.

But Monday’s proposal did not ameliorate Corbett’s Democratic critics, who characterized it as too little, too late.

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz has long blasted Corbett for rejecting the funds. Her campaign has already released a statement aiming to refute the Governor’s claims and scheduled a conference call with reporters later today to respond to the Governor’s proposal.

Other prospective Corbett opponents including former DEP Sec. John Hanger and former Revenue Sec. Tom Wolf also criticized Corbett’s proposal.

“Today’s announcement is another Harrisburg game from Governor Corbett that puts political posturing over people and raises more questions than it answers, Tom Wolf stated. “How is giving private insurance companies a cut of the money and providing fewer benefits to working families at the same cost to the taxpayers a better deal for Pennsylvania? That doesn’t seem to add up.

Meanwhile healthcare advocates praised the move as a positive step.

“It is good to see Governor Corbett acknowledge the reality that a majority of Pennsylvanians already understand: Medicaid Expansion is vital to the health of Pennsylvania families, and to our economy,” said Antoinette Kraus, the Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.

Corbett is nonetheless also being hit from the right on his decision. Tomorrow, for instance, State Reps. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) and Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin) plan to hold a press conference in the Capitol with Arkansas lawmakers to denounce each governor’s plan.

The proposal would not require legislative approval.

Given all this, the “Healthy PA” plan could more accurately be described as part of the Governor’s campaign platform than an initiative likely to be adopted. It is very likely to be one of the most contentious issues of the next fourteen months.

It’s at best unclear and at worst unlikely that the Obama Administration will accept Corbett’s plan, as it would undermine the heart of the healthcare law. Arkansas and Iowa have attempted similar ideas and have not yet received federal approval.

Additionally, opponents of Obamacare have argued that the privatization model is even worse because it will cost more, undercutting Corbett’s concerns about cost.

20 Responses

  1. “Corbett’s proposal would add a requirement that beneficiaries be actively seeking employment.”

    So, what does that do for fully disabled people who are unable to work?

  2. Great. So Tom Corbett the Space Cadet is going make us spend taxpayer dollars on the DPW to force all these unworthy poor people who need healthcare to search for jobs that aren’t there.

    That’s just SO brilliant.

  3. Corbett’s Statist solution won’t work. There are two ways to allocate scarce resources; State Rationing or Free Market Capitalism.

    fyi Corporate Cronyism is a form of socialism/fascism known as “Corporatism” which was advocated by Mussolini, the fascist.

  4. This should not be called a Medicaid plan at all. It is an effort to dismantle existing Medicaid and replace it with subsidized private insurance.

    It is also full of gratuitous insulting provisos that do nothing except to demean people and enlarge beaurocracy for ideological, not medical or fiscal reasons.

  5. As this Leftist article, it is evident that Democrats enriched their corporate cronies in insurance business, pharmaceuticals, as well as hospitals and the AMA all of whom plan to profit from their political connections. These Political Profiteers have found their home with Obama socialists. An oligarchy is forming engineered by Obama in plain sight while Obama’s rhetorical legerdemain distracts the “low information, free stuff” Democratic base. Or put it simply Rich are getting richer under Obama.

  6. For the Gov Corbett bashers your complaints are just to complain and not look for common ground and try to insure more people. I think it is a place to start.
    (1) The plans on the exchange are to meet a base minimum standard that if it is “good enough” for the non subsided public to buy then I think a mid average plan that is available on the exchange should suffice for the subsided expansion as well. Whatever that turns out to be, regardless how it compares to the current Medicaid benefits. This is about getting more uninsured covered.
    (2) Yes, this is going to cost the state some $ over federal dollars. The overall benefits & impact are ˃ the costs.
    (3) The – looking for work component – needs to be tweaked. Though it I think it needs to be recognized by both sides – it can not be denied that many people once on a program may need external structured and monitored incentives to look for work. Yes, some people based on their own work ethics and motivations do it on their own but this is to too variable to not have a built in system that encourages it of some kind.

    Finding a system that is functional, cost effective and fair for the circumstances is the challenge then answering the question is it really worth all the extra effort to do or a waste of time?

  7. And again Corbett’s contempt for the unemployed is visible with his work search requirement. He can’t comprehend his policies have led to little job creation and more unemployed. And the working poor, who will be charged a copay which they can’t afford – but hey it adds to the profits of his insurance company buddies who will then donate to his campaign.

  8. GID is advising Corbett campaign t!!! Corbett is finished. Look at his record. A very expensive phony and failure..
    “GOP consultant Charles Gerow, who is advising Corbett’s reelection drive, said the governor had taken a “prudent and thoughtful path” consistent with his long-expressed concerns about Medicaid’s ever-growing costs. “This governor does what he thinks is the right thing to do and lets the political chips fall where they will,” said Gerow.”

  9. I am with you, Dr. Bob….what happens when the wise President Obama does not approve this….then what?

  10. There’s a sullen atmosphere that lately seems to enfold Corbett, a fog of defensiveness, anger, impatience, and snobbery. The electorate can live with a stolid candidate, but not a gloomy, bitter one.

  11. In 2010 Corbett cared about JOB CREATORS. In 2013 Corbett discovered he is for for PEOPLE. Oh-yeah, for PEOPLE, just ask the victims of Sandusky. It is obvious that there is a strong link between the Corbett’s administrations new love for the PEOPLE and his Administration new conflicts with the health industry namely COS GROMIS-BAKER ties to UPMC and Acting Governor Brabender’s rumored ties to Highmark. SO NON-PROFIT HEALTH PROVIDERS WANT THEIR INDIGENT CARE SUBSIDIZED. I understand now. Isn’t it time for COS GROMIS BAKER to resign and start planning the Corbett library in Virginia’s horse country?

  12. Seems the Gov has made the calculation that a conservative proposal rejected by the feds is better (i.e., gets him more votes) than standing pat or accepting Medicaid expansion.

    Problem is it wins him very few moderate votes and no Democratic converts. Worse, it intensifies the opposition.

  13. Tom Corporate strikes again! When will everyone realize the problem is that middle layer of the private insurance industry that is driving up costs to protect the multi-billion dollar profit of the insurance industry. Even that ultra-liberal himself, Rush Limbaugh, posted on his website recently that the problem with health care costs is the fact that the consumer AKA patient doesn’t deal directly with the provider AKA doctor. Limbaugh told the story of some guy whose insurance would not cover a procedure because it was too expensive. So the guy went to the doctor and asked how much would he charge to do the procedure and it was only slightly more than the deductible he had to pay. The patient then asked the doctor why the insurance said it cost too much and the doctor explained that the insurance sets the price, not the doctor.

    Sorry Tom, the solution isn’t to put the insurance industry in charge.

  14. King Solomon taught that one cannot split the baby in-half; Obama won’t approve, and then what?

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