No Medicaid Expansion Until PA Governor Meets with Feds

Mar 7, 2013

Talks on a possible Medicaid expansion on Pennsylvania appear to depend on a meeting that is not yet on the governor’s schedule.  In the meantime, state lawmakers are bickering over dueling cost estimates and whether to trust a federal funding formula for Medicaid expansion.

Governor Tom Corbett said one of the reasons he is choosing to not expand Medicaid “at this time” is because he’s unsure about relying on the federal government to foot the bill, now and in the future.

Bev Mackereth, acting secretary for Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare, also doubted a federal I-O-U would be a guarantee because she said such promises have been broken before.

"Special education – the commitment from the federal government was 40 percent, we’re now down at 17," Mackereth said.  "I know you all are struggling with that piece in the education portion of your budget."

But Senate Democrats say pointing to special education is unfair because it's not an entitlement program that the federal government has a legal obligation to cover, like Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security.

But Corbett said he won’t budge on Medicaid without more assurances from the feds.  The governor said he plans on meeting with the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, but so far, nothing has been scheduled.