Harrisburg, April 2, 2013 – The revelation that 93,000 children are no longer enrolled in Pennsylvania’s children’s health insurance program is the continuation of a disturbing Corbett administration trend, state Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) said.
Hughes said the news, reported today by the Philadelphia Inquirer, follows the revelation last summer that the Corbett administration dropped 89,000 children from Medicaid, eliminated the adultBasic health insurance program in 2011 that protected more than 42,000 families, and continues to vacillate about Pennsylvania’s participation in the expansion of the federal Medicaid program that would help 652,000 people.
According to the Inquirer piece, Pennsylvania has failed to leverage $100 million in federal performance bonus awards because it has failed to be aggressive in making changes to retain or grow enrollment.
“Dropping children and families from health care access is simply unacceptable and unwarranted and needs to be changed now,” Hughes said. “The CHIP program was born in Pennsylvania and is the national model for how health care can be delivered to a vulnerable segment of our population.
“However, this administration has failed to: draw down federal funds for CHIP, properly advertise the program, and manage the bureaucracy so that children will be covered.”
The Corbett administration’s elimination of adultBasic and its diversion of national tobacco settlement funds were recently rejected by Commonwealth Court.
Hughes said he continues to be concerned about the governor’s procrastination about expanding Medicaid. In addition to helping to cover more people, Medicaid expansion would result in $4 billion new federal dollars and create or support between 35,000 and 41,000 jobs.
“The governor needs to lead on this issue and provide a path that enables hundreds of thousands to access quality health care,” Hughes said. “This is not a difficult decision.”
Corbett was slated to meet with the U.S. health and human services secretary today to get answers to the questions he says have not been satisfactorily addressed.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that validated the federal Affordable Care Act, states are permitted to expand Medicaid, with all costs covered for three years.
Hughes and Senate Democrats have repeatedly asked Corbett to be on board with Medicaid expansion. The caucus has held hearings and roundtable discussions that have highlighted the benefits of participation and it has introduced legislation (SB 12) to compel Pennsylvania’s participation in the beneficial program.