Hughes calls for rejection of Corbett's insurance plan

Posted: January 09, 2014

HARRISBURG - State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.) wants the Obama administration to reject Gov. Corbett's proposal to provide health insurance to those newly eligible for Medicaid through private insurers.

In a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, Hughes writes that had Pennsylvania expanded its Medicaid rolls, as two dozen other states have, roughly 500,000 people would have had insurance coverage Jan. 1, and the state would have received $400 million in federal subsidies to pay for it.

Hughes said the Corbett proposal - which requires recipients to pay premiums and engage in a work search - is "fraught with serious problems" and leaves the working poor with no options for insurance until next year.

"I want to send a message that the time to do Medicaid expansion is now," he said.

The Corbett administration has maintained that it needs flexibility to change the Medicaid system at the state level - including reducing some benefits - because the costs to the state to administer the program in the future would be too high. Corbett has also said that recipients should pay their fair share in the form of a modest monthly premium.

The Corbett administration has been holding hearings about the Medicaid proposal around the state; a webinar is scheduled for 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday that can be viewed at

The House Democratic Policy Committee will hold its own hearing on the plan from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Fairmount Behavioral Health System, 561 Fairthorne Ave., Roxborough. The discussion with invited experts is open to the public, but there is no comment period.

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Inquirer staff writer Don Sapatkin contributed to this article.

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