House Committee Kills Medicaid Expansion

Mike Turzai
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai

Ahead of a House session to wrap up budgeting loose ends, the House Rules Committee put an end to the debate on Medicaid expansion in the legislature – at least until the fall.

Update: The full House passed the Medicaid-free version of the underlying bill.

The Rules Committee, chaired by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) voted to remove language forcing Governor Tom Corbett to create a Medicaid expansion plan. It went down on a party-line vote.

They also stopped a proposed name change in the same welfare code bill that would have switched the “Department of Public Welfare” to the “Department of Human Services.”

It means that state Senators must return to Harrisburg to vote on a revised final package.

House Republicans have consistently been opposed to Medicaid expansion, an option which was created by the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). States like Pa. could opt-in to expand the health program for low income individuals in exchange for federal subsidies.

Gov. Tom Corbett has been negotiating with the Obama administration to seek special concessions in exchange for a Pa. opt-in, and spoke out against action by the legislature.

In a memo made public last Friday, 33 members pledged not to vote for the budget if it contained Medicaid provisions. GOP leadership managed to avoid a showdown by splitting the expansion issue into a separate vote.

Had expansion made it to a vote on the House floor, Democrats would have needed just 10 Republicans to join to pass it.

The Senate passed an updated version of the state’s welfare code, including expansion, by a wide 40 to 10 margin on Sunday which proponents lauded as a major victory.

“Today’s vote was a major step forward for providing health insurance to 500,000 working adults,” said Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Phila).

Now that expansion has been stricken from the Welfare code bill it will still need to go before the House and then back to the Senate for concurrence. It is possible that Senators could put the expansion language back in the bill, but with no known leverage to change the minds of the Republicans on the House Rules Committee, it is highly doubtful that they will continue to push for Medicaid expansion.

10 Responses

  1. I would also hope that the Senate would show their support for Veterans and Seniors by reinstating the language the House removed.

    To those who voted for Medicaid Expansion,Thank You!!

  2. Overlooked and forgotten by these Republican elitists is the fact that in addition to benefiting Seniors, Medicaid expansion would have provided health care coverage for 49% of PA’s uninsured Veterans, or about 23,00 individuals who bravely, nobly and honorably served our Country.

    I would hope that come election time next year all Vets, Seniors, their families, their supporters and their friends, will put aside Party affiliations and make sure they remember those legislators who voted against the Vets and the Seniors, and in turn vote against them. The time has come to STOP supporting and voting for those who do NOT support, and who vote against Vets and Seniors.

  3. Corbett the Governor and the rest of those people that they call themselves legislators are all fakes. They are not real. They don’t have to worry about a thing. They live off of us but we will soon tell them where to go and it will not be a pretty site. You are right dumb and dumber and dumest are running the show and it’s a dandy. Where do they get there feelings from they sure are a laughing stock of idiots. I voted for the good guys but it seems the bad ones got in front of the line.

  4. Interestingly, the underlying bill contained the re-enactment of the Hospital Assessment, (In laymen’s the assessment is basically a tax on hospital revenues. The hospitals are fine with it for a number of reasons.) because the bill wasn’t passed by June 30 when the previous interation sunsetted. Part of that hospital assessment goes to pay Pennsylvania’s share of Medicaid. This is splitting hairs, but, the minute Governor Corbett signs this bill he will have enacted a tax that helps pay for Medicaid, while simultaneously refusing to accept 100% federal money to pay for Medicaid for 500,000 Pennsylvanians, many of them desperately poor, who desperately need it.

    The Republicans in the Senate did the right thing. Republican Rep. DiGirolamo in the House made a valiant last stand for this thing. I respect him tremendously for it. Every Pennsylvania who would benefit from Medicaid Expansion owes them a debt of gratitude.

  5. The Governor, House and Senate members have the best health insurance. Why should they care whether the citizens of PA have health insurance or not! We have two people running Pennsylvania – Dumb and Dumber. 2014 can’t come soon enough!

  6. Last night, he asked for budget votes touting the “overwhelmingly bi-partisan” vote for the budget in the Senate. That vote was 33-17. The vote on Medicaid expansion in the Senate was 40-10, but apparently that “overwhelmingly bipartisan” vote didn’t matter to Turzai. What a joke this guy is.

  7. If he wanted to take it out, he should have, but allowed an amendment to be in order to put it back in…….let the House members vote on something.

  8. And Turd’s-Eye once again confirms his status as Stupidest Politician in Harrisburg – no easy feat, with Tom Corbett right down the street. Starves his own state of $40 billion in free federal money, just to spite… who? what? There is no rational reason for his position. Just Stupidity at its finest.

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