Medicaid: A moral choice for Pennsylvania

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The expansion of Medicaid in Pennsylvania would cover 700,000 working and lower-income Pennsylvanians earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Under this provision of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government picks up 100 percent of the cost of the expansion for the first three years beginning in 2014. Thereafter the federal government will pay 90 percent and the state will be responsible for 10 percent.

The Kaiser Foundation estimates that Pennsylvania would gain $38 billion in new federal funding between 2014 and 2022. Individuals with an income of $15,415 and a family of four with an income of $31,809 would benefit from this expansion. Only citizens are eligible under the expansion.

The new federal funding would invest in our people, our greatest resource. Hospitals will benefit. Under expansion more patients will be covered. Without the expansion, uncompensated care will be reduced over the next 10 years while the number of uninsured individuals in need of health care will increase.

The governor is concerned that the state could not afford the expansion. He is willing to reject $38 billion in federal funds already set aside to give thousands of Pennsylvanians coverage. We cannot afford to refuse the help. The expansion of Medicaid in Pennsylvania is the right thing to do. It is the moral choice. This is the right time to act.

JOYCE SCHLAG
Banksville


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