Harrisburg – August 28, 2014 − Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Senate Democratic Appropriations Chair Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia) issued the following statement following federal approval of Medicaid expansion for Pennsylvania.
Statements from Costa and Hughes follow:
Sen. Jay Costa:
“The approval of the long-delayed Medicaid expansion is in close proximity to the position that Senate Democrats adopted long ago. However, the delay in approving the plan has come at great cost. There has been more than $1.7 billion lost in federal money, over $300 million in budget savings that were not realized, and half-million Pennsylvanians were denied access to health care needlessly.
“It is good that Pennsylvania has now moved toward expanding Medicaid. We believe that all Pennsylvanians should have access to quality health care. We are very concerned about the details and the implementation of this expansion, especially as it relates to those who may not be able to afford the cost of insurance premiums.
“There has been too much delay as the governor searched for a political solution to a health care problem. The governor’s private insurance model was rejected and the federal government approved a plan that incorporated the Senate Democratic proposal to use the established managed care system to deliver benefits. We are pleased that the governor is finally turning down the path cut by Senate Democrats more than a year ago.”
Sen. Vincent Hughes:
“The governor has moved toward the full adoption of Obamacare for the citizens of Pennsylvania. Had we acted sooner, we could have provided the much-needed assistance and made life better for hundreds of thousands of our most vulnerable this year. The governor has finally accepted what the Senate Democrats have said over a year ago. It is not perfect and has taken far too long to put in place.
“While we are cautiously optimistic that the Medicaid expansion may reach the half million Pennsylvanians who would have been covered a year ago, we realize that there are many unresolved questions and issues that may impact thousands of our citizens.
“It is an open question whether Pennsylvanians will be able to afford health care access with the requirement that those above the federal poverty level must pay premiums beginning in 2016. We need to study the details of the plan and be willing to make changes if political winds change.”