Harrisburg, September 16, 2013 – Senate Democrats issued the following joint statement in response to Gov. Tom Corbett’s announcement of his plan to reform the state’s Medicaid program.

Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia) Democratic Appropriations Committee chair, Democratic Health and Welfare Committee Chair Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D-Philadelphia,) and Sen. Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) Democratic chair of the Banking and Insurance Committee comments on the Corbett proposal. The statement is as follows:

“Senate Democrats welcome the discussion about health-care access and affordability now that Governor Corbett has outlined his plan and vision for providing health insurance to 600,000 working Pennsylvanians.

“For more than a year, Senate Democrats have been focused on expanding options and providing help for those in need of affordable health care as soon as possible. We remain convinced that the best and most effective option is to enroll newly eligible individuals into Pennsylvania’s existing Medicaid program.

“Our plan, expanding the current Medicaid program, would allow 600,000 Pennsylvanians to have access to health insurance on January 1, save taxpayers $400 million annually and create more than 35,000 jobs. This is the cost-and-effectiveness standard by which the Corbett initiative will be measured.

“The process has to move quickly. The administration needs to put the final details of its proposal together and submit that plan to the federal government. Many states will have expansion in place by January 1, 2014, including the surrounding states of Maryland, New York and New Jersey.”