HARRISBURG – December 6th, 2013 – Senator Vincent Hughes issued the following statement on the need for Pennsylvania to expand Medicaid:

“Gov. Tom Corbett has begun to offer more details about his proposal to expand health-care coverage for low-income individuals using provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Frankly, I believe that he is headed down the wrong path. The best option for Pennsylvania is to expand traditional Medicaid and provide coverage for more than 500,000 working adults.

“My biggest concern is the length of time it will take to implement Gov. Corbett’s proposal. We could have been ready to provide coverage on January 1st if the state had simply expanded our current Medicaid system. Now, we have no clear timeline for how long it will take the federal government to approve a waiver or the convoluted process that Gov. Corbett is proposing. Expanding Medicaid is much more straightforward and the fastest way to expand quality health insurance for working people who deserve coverage.

“I’m also concerned that Gov. Corbett’s plan will not provide the budget savings that our state desperately needs. Expanding Medicaid would generate at least $400 million in savings for the FY2014-15 budget. Those savings could be used to fund education, job creation, and other critical needs. It’s unclear if Gov. Corbett’s proposal will be able to be implemented before the next fiscal year. That’s the only way to ensure savings for taxpayers. Again, expanding traditional Medicaid would guarantee significant savings in the first year.

“Medicaid Expansion is the simplest, easiest, quickest, most thorough and comprehensive way to go. It would be approved by the Federal government immediately, coverage would begin immediately, and multiple independent studies have indicated that it would save $400 million in the next budget, which given our budget crisis, is necessary. Let’s do this now.”

State Senator Vincent Hughes represents the 7th Senatorial District and is the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.