Senate aides familiar with budget negotiations said that no decision had been made, but that a strong faction believed the chamber had little to gain by forcing the Medicaid issue, as Gov. Corbett had not let them know if he would support the expansion.
There was also concern over language the House added Monday to the fiscal code to allow controversial so-called payday lending in the state. That last-minute insertion could jeopardize a piece of the schools rescue package: the $45 million in interest and penalties on a debt Pennsylvania has owed to the federal government for several years, but which Washington has agreed to forgive.
Few legislators were talking Tuesday about how the next act might unfold in the struggle over whether to expand Medicaid coverage to as many as 600,000 lower-income Pennsylvanians.
"It has to be a decision made by our caucus" Wednesday," said Drew Crompton, counsel and chief of staff to Senate President Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson). "I don't know exactly where they're going to fall on this one."
Meanwhile, Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackareth warned that inaction on the welfare code would have consequences of its own.
"Failure of the General Assembly to pass a welfare code bill in a timely manner will put millions of Pennsylvanians at risk," she said. "It would mean the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to fund Pennsylvania's health-care system, including funding for hospitals and nursing homes."
In addition, administration officials said, delays on the various code bills could hold up funding for the state-related universities, Temple, Pittsburgh, Lincoln, and Pennsylvania State.
The Medicaid expansion option is available to the state under the Affordable Care Act. Corbett has said he wants to negotiate a flexible Medicaid expansion plan that would require modest co-pays for recipients and other cost-cutting measures.
Contact Amy Worden at 717-783-2584 or email@example.com or follow @inkyamy on Twitter.
Inquirer staff writers Angela Couloumbis and Josh Fatzick contributed to this article.