Pa. Medicaid expansion nixed; $45 million of school rescue in limbo

Posted: July 05, 2013

HARRISBURG - Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania is on hold. And a $45 million piece of the financial rescue plan for Philadelphia schools is in limbo.

Those were the results of votes Wednesday by a key state Senate committee on the so-called code bills that accompany the annual budget.

At issue were two controversial revisions the state House had made in those bills before adjourning Monday night for the summer. Those changes removed Medicaid expansion and added new wording that would legalize so-called payday lending in the state.

The Senate Rules Committee stripped the payday lending provision out of the fiscal code - but that move had consquences for the school rescue plan. Language adding $45 million to that plan is contained in the fiscal code, which now must go back to the House, or to a joint conference committee, in order to ratify the version voted Wednesday.

Meanwhile, over Democrats' protests, the same Senate committee chose not to undo what the House had done on Medicaid: delete language from the welfare code bill that would have let the state expand Medicaid health care coverage to as many as 600,000 lower-income Pennsylvanians, an option available to states under Obamacare.

Sen Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware ) said the chamber could take up Medicaid expansion again in the future.

More votes were awaited Wednesday as senators tried to complete the last elements of the annual budget before they, too, headed home for their summer break.


Contact Amy Worden at 717-783-2584 or aworden@phillynews.com or follow @inkyamy on Twitter.

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