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Report: Corbett to Expand Medicaid

Tom Corbett portrait loresGovernor Corbett has reportedly decided to move forward with Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

According to the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era, he is set to make an announcement sometime next week.

Asked about the report, spokeswoman Lynn Lawson said an announcement would be coming soon and reiterated the Governor’s earlier statements that he would seek reforms and concessions before accepting expansion.

“Governor Corbett does not support growing an entitlement program,” she said. “Governor Corbett has been very clear about the need for reform. There are a number of interesting options to consider; they are under review.”

Corbett campaign manager Mike Barley confirmed that an announcement is forthcoming, but also noted that he will demand concessions from President Obama’s administration.

“The Governor will be formally announcing the details of his plans soon. I can assure you that Governor Corbett will not expand this broken entitlement program without significant reforms being agreed to by the Federal Government and assurances that a plan would be fiscally sustainable now and moving forward.”

Neither Lawson nor Barley commented on the specific details of the report.

Update: another Corbett spokesperson, Jennifer Branstetter, the governor’s policy director rejected the word “expansion.” She told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “This is not Medicaid expansion.” The report went on to suggest that Corbett’s administration will seek an increase in federal dollars – what other states have termed expansion – but with some structural reforms to be determined.

“Expansion” has become a pro-ACA buzzword in Pa. political circles, and the statements from the Governor’s office thus far could be interpreted as an effort to preempt conservative concerns about the plan by avoiding the word.


If the report is correct, Corbett would join a growing number of Republican Governor’s who were originally staunch adversaries to expansion but are now endorsing the program. At this time, 28 of 50 states are planning to participate, or are leaning in that direction.

Some of those states have requested and received special conditions from the federal government about the management of the funds and the program.

This plan is expected to insure an estimated 682,000 Pennsylvanians who were previously unqualified, representing the largest expansion since Medicaid’s inception.

Democrats have loudly petitioned Corbett to accept the program, while conservative grassroots have just as loudly protested the idea.

The costs associated with the expansion are going to be entirely covered by the federal government for the first three years. After 2016, the funding will begin to gradually drop off, with the federal government expecting to pay 90% by 2020.

For Corbett and other Republicans the main concern over expansion has centered on how long the federal funding will last, and whether the program is sustainable and effective in the long term. This summer 50 house Republicans in PA signed a letter stating that they would block the budget if it included Medicaid expansion.

However, a bipartisan majority in the state Senate backed expansion.

Previous reports have indicated that Corbett would only accept the expansion if significant reforms were made to the existing program.

“At this time, without serious reforms, it would be financially unsustainable for the taxpayers, and I cannot recommend a dramatic Medicaid expansion,” Gov. Corbett stated earlier this year.

Correction: an earlier version of this story said that Pa. faced an October 1 deadline to expand Medicaid. There is no deadline. Oct. 1 is the first day to enroll in ACA-created health insurance exchanges.

22 Responses

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  2. In this Trib Review story, Paul Woods spokesperson for UPMC says that the Corbett Administration shared the plan with the giant medical insurer. WELL WE KNOW THAT’S CERTAINLY TRUE. COS GROMIS BAKER, please resign. You are too conflicted to be managing health care policy for Pennsylvanians. Governor John Brabender: remember the JOB CREATORS, THE JOB CREATORS. Or is remembering the JOB CREATORS so 2010?

  3. CNN Poll reported 11 September 2013 :”According to the poll, support for Obamacare appears to be dropping.
    In January 51% said they favored all or most of the provisions in the new law. Now that figure is down to 39%.
    Support has dropped in virtually all demographic categories, but it has fallen the farthest among two core Democratic groups – women and Americans who make less than $50,000.”

  4. When events of this magnitude transpire, it’s vital to ignore the ignorant ideologues [e.g., Diano] and ID the underlying forces-at-play [e.g., Guzzardi].

    In this instance, Corbett is consciously doing what Romney wishes he could have undone, namely, to support statism when organizing and delivering healthcare…thereby abandoning the free-market; as a result, undermining fundamental GOP philosophy transpires, yielding unhappy harbingers that become irreversible [mixing metaphors].

    Someone should organize a Hugh Scott visit [with Barry Goldwater and John Rhodes] to the “Nixon” who needs to be told he should ponder choosing his successor…ASAP….and abandon thoughts of a second-term.

  5. Does it really make sense to expand Obamacare when the majority of the people oppose Obamacare? Does it make sense to expand Obamacare when the rest of the party will be campaigning against Obamacare? Oh it’s not Obamacare it is Medicaid —- except it is part of the Obamacare package! Oh it’s not Obamacare it is just an expanded entitlement as part of Obamacare! Oh its not our money its Federal money except in both cases its taxpayer money! While this double speak work in Pennsylvania?

  6. Tom Corbett is abandoning his base; The Forgotten Taxpayer has been forgotten…again.

    Tom Corbett has no primary challengers which is why he thinks it safe to abandon the conservative taxpayer base.

    I can only speculate that Tom Corbett is using the Arlen Specter Rick Santorum strategy of appeasing southeast Liberal Intelligentsia and Philadelphia Building Trades unions for their under the radar support with only superficial public opposition.

    David Cohen-Ed Rendell and the Comcast Obama Billionaires are financing Tom Corbett this time.

    I am seeing Rick Santorum 2006 and Dave Freed Kathleen Kane 2012 as the paradigms.

    No matter what, Brabender gets paid. All I need to see is Charlie GID Gerow on Team Corbett and I will know Pennsylvania will have a Democrat Governor Jan 2015.

  7. Fine, so Corbett is moving forward to expand Medicaid. The problem here is not the policy itself (which isn’t clear at this point what it even is) but the incompetence this entire situation reveals about the Governors inability to make a decision, communicate effectively then execute successfully. Just a few months ago he said No to expansion. Then he said Maybe. Now he’s saying Yes, but can we not call it expansion.
    This slow moving train wreck demonstrates his lack of executive skill and leadership.
    The indecisiveness and incoherent messaging parallels the President’s Syria plan. Corbett is not a leader and his team just plain stinks.

  8. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today editorializes about the Pittsburgh HealthCare ad wars without getting to the root cause: POLITICAL NECROPHILIA FOR ECONOMIC GAIN in the Corbett/Brabender administration. Post-Gazette, blow the lid on Governor Brabender’s rumored contract with Highmark. COS GROMIS-Baker should resign. I don’t believe that the Chinese wall in her marital bedroom is strong enough to protect Pennsylvania rate payers. Finally with only a few months left in the administration, I offer Mrs Corbett, some advice. Please get in on the influence peddling game in the health care industry too. Why should your ethical standards being remain any higher than your husband’s advisors?

  9. Hunter-
    The people Corbett trusts are likely as stupid as he is. Corbett doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that trusts “brainy” people, probably because they spend too much time thinking.

    Corbett want’s a legacy similar to Bush’s: getting reelected despite being the least capable person to hold the office

  10. Will the Corbett administration please disclose the alleged Contract that Acting Governor Brabender has with Highmark? Does anyone believe the Brabender Administration has the independence to regulate Healthcare for the benefit of the JOB CREATORS? This move is take the spotlight off Acting Governor Brabender and COS GROMIS-BAKER’S conflicts with the State’s Health Insurers. This move is not about VICTORY it is about how to continue POLITICAL NECROPHILIA for economic gain a few months more. START PLANNING THE CORBETT LIBRARY IN LOUDON COUNTY VIRGINIA!! COS GROMIS BAKER please resign for the JOB CREATORS and Governor Brabender, in my religion POLITICAL NECROPHILIA is a mortal sin.

  11. I’ve never seen poll numbers in PA as weak as Corbett’s. Someone he trusts needs to have the talk with him. “Sorry, Tom, but it looks like there’s no second term for you. Time to think about legacy, meaning forget politics and take the high road for the remainder of your term. Show the bastards how to exit with class.”

  12. Well he’s already pissed off Democrats and Independents, I guess it was the Republicans’ turn.

    He can’t get his popular policies passed, might as well try for some unpopular ones.

  13. Corbett this is the most important part of our state’s future next to pension reform. Expand Medicaid, you bankrupt out state and I’m leaving my Governor ballot empty in 2014. #Castor 2014#Primary

  14. Many, many truly-conservative Republicans will not be pleased with this action, were it to transpire.

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