Harrisburg – June 10, 2013 – Senator Vincent Hughes expressed his disappointment today that Senate Appropriations Committee did not consider Senate Bill 977, which Democrats planned to amend with a requirement that Pennsylvania participate in Medicaid expansion. Republicans pulled the bill from the agenda minutes before the meeting began. The amendment would have been the first time state lawmakers formally voted on Medicaid expansion.
“The Senate Appropriations Committee decided to take a pass on holding a vote on Medicaid expansion, which would result in more than 500,000 hardworking uninsured individuals getting quality health-care,” said Sen. Hughes. “I am deeply disappointed that we did not get a vote today and hope that my colleagues plan to act on this issue in the immediate future. We need to take action on behalf of working families that would benefit from expansion.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania is eligible for more than $4 billion annually in federal funds to provide health insurance to low-income individuals. Multiple independent studies have found that expansion will have a positive impact on the state budget, including $165 million net impact in the next fiscal year. Medicaid expansion would also result in between 35,000-40,000 new jobs in health-care related fields.
“We are rapidly running out of time to include Medicaid expansion in the next budget,” said Sen. Hughes. “The time for discussion and debate has passed. The Senate needs to go on record supporting expansion and pressure Gov. Tom Corbett to do the right thing.”
Vincent Hughes represents the 7th Senatorial District and is the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.