Harrisburg, April 19, 2013 – The Pennsylvania Economy League (PEL) study on Medicaid expansion released this morning reinforces Senate Democratic arguments about the benefits of expansion, state Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) said today.

Gov. Tom Corbett has to decide whether Pennsylvania will join a host of other states – many led by Republican governors – that have agreed to expand Medicaid to serve individuals earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The landmark U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) left it up to states to determine if they would participate in the expansion of the federal health insurance program.

Hughes, who is the Democratic chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, provided the following comments on the PEL report:

“The evidence becomes clearer as one study after another details significant benefit for Pennsylvania citizens, our economy and all taxpayers if the governor would stop waffling and accept the expansion of Medicaid.

“The PEL report said that over the next ten years Medicaid expansion would produce $4.4 billion in savings for Pennsylvania, $32 billion in economic activity and create between 35,000 to 40,000 jobs averaging more than $52,000 per year. Plus, more than 500,000 Pennsylvania’s would be covered under the program.

“The PEL report says savings result from expanded federally funded Medicaid coverage that will replace current state funded healthcare programs and significantly reduce uncompensated care payments to hospitals. This has direct, positive General Fund impact that is meaningful for all taxpayers.

“There isn’t any reason why Pennsylvania would strong-arm the expansion and turn aside the benefits of participating. The governor needs to jump on board.”

Hughes said that several other recent studies underscore the benefits of Pennsylvania’s participation. These include a RAND report that said more than 35,000 jobs would be created and substantial budget savings would be realized from Medicaid expansion. On the flip side, a Jackson Hewitt study found that Pennsylvania employers could face penalties of up to $85 million annually under the ACA if we choose not to expand.

An analysis by the Senate Democratic caucus concluded that with expansion 650,000 Pennsylvanians would gain access to health insurance, $670 million in revenues would be generated and $4 billion in federal dollars would be leveraged, findings very similar to the PEL report released today.