We recently sent a letter to the Department of Public Welfare voicing our concerns about the governor’s proposed waiver and the concept paper that outlines that plan: “Healthy Pennsylvania: Reforming Medicaid“. Read the update titled “Governor Corbett’s Proposal – September 2013” below for more details on his proposal.
One of our chief concerns is timing. The Governor’s proposal must be approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) before it can be implemented. There is no specified timeline or deadline for CMS to issue an approval or a denial, and while we wait, hundreds of thousands will go uninsured and the state will lose out on millions in federal funding. There is also no guarantee that the proposal will be approved.
States are able to withdraw from Medicaid expansion, and as such, we believe Governor Corbett should opt-in to receiving federal funds and expand coverage now and withdraw down the road if his proposal is not approved. In the interim, low income individuals should not need to live without health insurance.
In addition to timing, we have significant concerns about imposing work requirements and premiums on individuals who are eligible for coverage under this plan. The DPW proposal provides no indication of how the state will implement a work search requirement that is designed to make sure individuals who are covered by Medicaid are seeking employment. While we disagree with the work search requirement, if it is to be part of the state’s plan, we believe DPW and the Governor’s office need to come up with a plan for implementation.
Finally, DPW proposes imposing a premium on certain individuals who exceed a specified income requirement. This is not typical under Medicaid programs and we believe that such premiums will decrease enrollment and place an unnecessary financial burden on low income individuals. If the state accepts Medicaid expansion, the federal government will pay to cover low income individuals for the next three years, and the state will have no need to target low income individuals to create revenue.
Click here to read our comments in full.