Harrisburg – June 28, 2013 – Senator Vincent Hughes thanked the Senate Health and Welfare Committee tonight for passing legislation that will implement Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania. The language, which was offered as an amendment to House Bill 1075, is the first legislative step in expanding health insurance for more than 500,000 people across the state.

“I have been fighting for a year to make sure that Pennsylvania participates in Medicaid expansion,” said Sen. Hughes. “Tonight was an important first step in the formal process. I am extremely grateful to my colleagues on the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for overwhelmingly passing this bill in a bipartisan vote. I hope that the Senate Appropriations Committee will follow suit and that we will see passage in the full Senate. That would be a clear signal to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Gov. Tom Corbett that Medicaid expansion should be done.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania is eligible for $4 billion annually in federal funds to provide insurance to low-income working individuals. Multiple independent studies have found that expansion will have a positive impact on the state budget, including $165 million net savings in the next fiscal year. It will also create between 35,000 and 40,000 jobs in the health-care industry.

“Expanding Medicaid will mean that 500,000 hardworking Pennsylvania residents will have health insurance,” said Sen. Hughes. “These are people who serve our food, clean our buildings, work as security guards, and take care of our seniors. They deserve to have the high quality health care that can be provided under the Affordable Care Act.”

Now that the bill has passed the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, it is likely to be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Saturday and then voted upon by the full Pennsylvania Senate.

“We have not yet crossed the finish line, but this is an important moment for Medicaid expansion,” said Sen. Hughes. “I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will pass this bill before June 30. We need Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania and I’m glad that my colleagues on both side of the aisle are starting to see that.”