State Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) has introduced legislation that would allow more Pennsylvanians to be insured through Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. If his measure is passed, medical coverage would be expanded to include residents who earn less than 133% of the federal poverty level.
Under the proposal, the federal government would pay for the all the costs involved with the expansion for the first three years. Frankel explained that percentage will slowly decrease to 90% of the costs by 2020. He warned if the commonwealth does not take advantage of the expansion, Pennsylvania's federal tax dollars could be used in the states that do opt in across the country.
"If we don't opt into the expansion of Medicaid the way states likes Florida have announced that they're not going to opt in, our Pennsylvania taxpayers will be exporting their federal tax dollars to other states who do opt in," Frankel said.
New York and Ohio have already decided to expand Medicaid coverage for these individuals. Frankel estimated about an additional 500,000 to 800,000 Pennsylvanians will be insured if the expansion bill is passed.
"There are incredible benefits to be had," Frankel said. "Pennsylvania should participate to the full extent that it can, and the Medicaid expansion is one of those very important elements in order to ensure that we have the ability to insure all Pennsylvanians."