Medicaid Expansion - Governor Corbett's 'Profiles in Courage' Moment?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 5, 2013
CONTACT: Jennifer Stefano at infoPA@AFPHQ.org
AFP mobilizes activists statewide to engage governor, legislators on Medicaid decision
Washington Crossing, PA – Jennifer Stefano, State Director of Americans for Prosperity –
Pennsylvania (AFP-PA), called Governor Corbett’s decision not to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania his “profiles in courage” moment. The director of the state’s largest grassroots, pro-freedom organization said any legislator standing with Corbett on blocking the Medicaid expansion scheme is courageous as well.
Last summer’s Supreme Court ruling regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), Obamacare, made expansion of the program optional finding it was too onerous to force states to participate. The federal government seeks to entice the states by picking up nearly all the costs to expand during the first three years. The funding then drops to a 90 percent matching level by 2018, although President Obama in his 2013 budget indicated this matching amount may decrease. Currently, nearly 20 percent of Pennsylvanians are enrolled in Medicaid.
“I applauded Governor Corbett’s decision last month coming out against the Medicaid expansion, a decision he made knowing full well the political firestorm it would create,” said Stefano. “We urge him to continue to stand strong and show our Commonwealth and the nation what a governor does when he truly cares about the poor and the needy, and fights for the future of our children.”
Stefano continued: “Now the Left, powerful corporate medical interests, and even some within his own party have aligned against the governor wanting him to cave, take the money and run. That is not leadership. This is the governor’s and our state legislators’ ‘profiles in courage’ moment. Will they put the long term fiscal health of the state first? Expanding an already overburdened and failing program with borrowed federal dollars that will dry up in part in a few short years– and may dry up in whole– is not compassion, it is irresponsible. Lower income workers need real healthcare options, not short-term, illusory promises.”
Governor Corbett has given two reasons for not expanding Medicaid. First, it will cost Pennsylvania over $4 billion in new spending through 2021 starting with an over $200 million this upcoming fiscal year and ramping up to nearly a billion per year by the end of the decade. The second is his concern that the federal government (as it has in the past) will lure the states into starting a program and then leave them on the hook to sustain it.
Stefano said, “Once a constituency is created, to the tune of billions of dollars, the Left and those who support big government know that it will be all but impossible to end it. We are already seeing the political pressure caused by just the potential of new spending. For a state that has struggled mightily to balance its budget per the law, and that is facing over $40 billion in unfunded pension liability, Governor Corbett is being the grown-up in the room and rightly asking: ‘How will we pay for this?’”
Governor Rendell left Pennsylvania with a $4 billion deficit in 2011 and a vastly underfunded pension plan, forcing painful cuts to education, transportation and other vital spending needs in the state. Governor Corbett does not want to do the same. “AFP-PA is mobilizing activists statewide to contact the Governor and their state legislators and let them know, Pennsylvania must say no to Medicaid expansion,” said Stefano.
For further questions or an interview, contact infoPA@AFPHQ.org or Randy DeSoto at email@example.com, 267-838-2379.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org