The governor's plan will improve health care

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State Rep. Frank Dermody's Oct. 20 Forum article "Expand Medicaid Right Now" was disappointing for its inaccuracies and misrepresentations, but it does allow me to correct the record and share the real facts about Gov. Tom Corbett's health care plan, "Healthy Pennsylvania."

Rep. Dermody supports a full Medicaid expansion that would put one in four Pennsylvanians on Medicaid. Gov. Corbett's plan enables more than 500,000 newly eligible Pennsylvanians to access coverage in the private market -- without breaking the bank once the federal government reduces or eliminates its funding.

Let's also clear up what we mean by the proposal's work search requirement. It applies only to people who are physically and mentally able to work. It does not -- as Rep. Dermody implies -- apply to children, seniors and those with disabilities. Gov. Corbett's plan asks Pennsylvanians who can work to register with the state's job-search website, and it supports them in that effort through access to job training.

Gov. Corbett's plan also would eliminate confusing co-pays -- replacing them with modest monthly premiums from $0 to $35. Contrary to what Rep. Dermody states, the federal government is starting to approve premiums in other states because they are seeing improved health care outcomes.

Gov. Corbett's "Healthy Pennsylvania" plan has been endorsed by groups as diverse as the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Pennsylvania Health Care Association, Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Pennsylvania Nurses Association. In fact, one of the groups Rep. Dermody cites, the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, has also endorsed the governor's plan, saying it embraces "the cornerstone of a high-performing health system: effective insurance coverage for all Pennsylvanians."

When the opposition is citing data from the supporters of "Healthy Pennsylvania," I think it confirms the goals of increased access to quality, affordable health care for all Pennsylvanians.

BEV MACKERETH
Secretary of Public Welfare
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg


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