A Letter from Governor Corbett: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

February 19, 2013

The Governor’s office emailed this letter out to constituents who had contacted his office about the healthcare exchanges and Medicaid expansion under the ACA.  We thank Governor Corbett for his stance on both issues.

“Dear Friend:

Thank you for contacting my office to express your concerns regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

Affordable health insurance is an important issue for all Pennsylvanian families.  As Governor, I continue to strive to ensure that high quality, affordable health care is available to all of our residents.  However, Pennsylvania, not Washington D.C., is in the best position to address these issues for our citizens, and the ACA’s one-size-fits-all approach is not the right solution.

Since taking office in 2011, my administration has diligently examined all options available to Pennsylvania to ensure that health insurance is accessible and affordable for Pennsylvanian families while protecting state taxpayers from additional tax burdens.  After careful analysis, we have determined that implementing Medicaid expansion as provided under the ACA would cost Pennsylvania taxpayers almost $1 billion in new state dollars through 2016 — ultimately rising in cost to over $4.1 billion in state dollars by 2021.  Based on these projections, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) repeated failure to provide clear answers to even the most basic questions on the effects of implementation on Pennsylvania, I cannot recommend further expansion of Medicaid at this time.

It is important to note that Pennsylvania’s existing Medicaid programs bring support to 1 out of every 6 Pennsylvanians.  While my administration remains committed to supporting Pennsylvanians in need, it is clear that expansion of Medicaid would be fiscally unsustainable without significant reforms to the program itself.  I am convinced that in order to make Medicaid more effective and health care more affordable, HHS must permit states to implement innovative solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of their residents.  History is replete with examples of successful and sustainable insurance assistance programs created at the state level; however, Washington’s current plan to simply expand Medicaid without meaningful reform is ill-advised and destined to fail those the program is intended to serve as well as the taxpayers who fund it.

Please understand that my decision to not pursue a state-based exchange and further expansion of Medicaid at this time is based on the failure of the federal government to provide flexibility and independence in crafting our state’s programs.  I believe that Pennsylvanians deserve true reform — not higher costs to expand an inefficient system.  With this in mind, I have asked HHS to introduce common sense reforms that will allow states true flexibility and opportunity to care for the unique needs of their respective citizens.  I sincerely hope that Washington takes this opportunity to engage in an open and honest dialogue and enacts meaningful reforms to our nation’s Medicaid programs.

Thank you again for contacting my office regarding this important issue, please do not hesitate to do so again in the future.

Sincerely,

TOM CORBETT
Governor”

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