Dermody comments on Corbett’s private Medicaid alternative

HARRISBURG, Feb. 19 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said Gov. Tom Corbett’s submission of a request for a waiver of federal rules on Medicaid coverage is another step in a tedious and unnecessary process to craft a plan that will cover fewer people and will end up costing more than simple Medicaid expansion.

“The majority of states, including every state surrounding Pennsylvania, long ago made the rational choice to accept full Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act,” Dermody said. “Governor Corbett chose instead to pursue a complex scheme that must undergo additional federal review and extensive negotiations still to come.

“In other states, people who were not insured a few months ago are now covered. But in Pennsylvania there’s still no health insurance for more than 500,000 people,” he said. “Who knows how long it might take?”

Corbett’s plan to funnel federal Medicaid dollars to private health insurers to buy coverage for uninsured Pennsylvanians was formally submitted today to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Federal officials will review the plan and a further public comment period must follow.

“It’s truly unfortunate that the governor chose a political ploy over the health of Pennsylvanians. He allowed his political ideology to get in the way of common sense. Hundreds of thousands of people are left waiting for coverage they desperately need,” Dermody said.

Dermody noted that federal law requires the U.S. government to cover 100 percent of the Medicaid expansion costs for the first three years, and no less than 90 percent starting in 2017. Due to Corbett’s delays, Pennsylvania already is missing the first year of 100 percent federal funding.

“Pennsylvania’s uninsured and vulnerable residents need a clear timetable for when health insurance coverage will be available to them. We still don’t have an answer for them,” Dermody said.

Frank Dermody

33rd Legislative District
Allegheny County
(724) 274-4770