Under the Affordable Care Act, each state’s governor must decide whether to expand Medicaid, with the federal government picking up the whole tab for the first three years and 90 percent thereafter.
The Pennsylvania Senate supported expansion in a vote Friday night, but there is a different attitude in the House.
Steve Miskin, spokesman for the House Republican Caucus, said the House has not and will not consider expanding Medicaid as it exists now.
“We can’t afford Pennsylvania’s current program with a very generous benefit package, especially when compared to other states and when compared to what will be offered through the health care exchanges," he said. "Pennsylvania currently spends approximately $7,400 per recipient compared to the $4,000 to $5,000 of almost every other state.”
With 30 cents of every tax dollar going to Medicaid now, Miskin said expansion would further crowd out other important programs like education.
There are studies that show Medicaid expansion would bring money, jobs and growth to Pennsylvania, but Miskin said the state cannot rely on the federal government to live up to its funding commitments.
Miskin did not rule out House approval of Medicaid expansion if Gov. Tom Corbett is successful in negotiating with the federal government to reform existing standards.