HARRISBURG – May 14th, 2013 – Senator Vincent Hughes announced today that he has filed a discharge petition in an effort to get a vote on Senate Bill 12, which would require Pennsylvania to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The bill, which was introduced on March 26th, has been stuck in the Public Health and Welfare Committee of the Pennsylvania Senate.
“Last Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said that the ‘practical deadline’ for expanding Medicaid has almost arrived,” said Sen. Hughes. “I agree completely. That is why I’ve decided to file a discharge petition to seek a vote on Senate Bill 12 in the full Senate. We are rapidly running out of time to take advantage of the savings generated by Medicaid expansion in the state budget.”
Medicaid expansion would provide health insurance to more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians through an infusion of $4 billion in federal funds. According to the nonpartisan Independent Fiscal Office, the expansion would also generate $180 million in savings for the state budget in the first fiscal year. That number could increase significantly if the Gross Receipts Tax is levied on services related to expansion. It would also create between 35,000-40,000 new jobs in health-care related fields. Despite these obvious benefits, Gov. Tom Corbett has refused to commit to participating in the expansion.
“Clearly, Medicaid expansion is something that Pennsylvania needs to do,” said Sen. Hughes. “If Gov. Corbett is unwilling to do the right thing, my colleagues in the Senate must send a clear message that this is unacceptable. It’s time for a vote on Medicaid expansion.”
A committee can be discharged from consideration of a bill within 10 legislative days of its referral with the unanimous consent of the full Senate. After 10 legislative days have passed, the bill can be discharged by a majority vote of Senate members.