Wait for Medicaid waiver decision goes on

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Mar 31, 2014 4:00 AM

(Harrisburg) -- As the Corbett Administration awaits whether its proposal for a Medicaid waiver is approved, the governor is optimistic about its chances.

The Healthy PA plan, as its known, would use Medicaid dollars to buy private insurance for those who make up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line (about $30,000 for a family of four). A decision is expected soon from the federal government.


Photo by Heather Woolridge/witf

Arkansas and Iowa already are running plans similar to Pennsylvania's, but there are some differences.

"We have a pretty good confidence level that this program will be accepted," says Governor Corbett, speaking on Radio Pennsylvania's Ask the Governor.

"Similar programs have been accepted, one specifically in Arkansas. Our model is a little bit different."

Pennsylvania is asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to waive the requirement that health plans cover visits to out of network family planning centers.

Such an approach has never been approved before.

However, Governor Corbett recently backed off his plan to require recipients to look for work.

He says the decision was part of the ongoing dialogue between the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and his administration.

"We said if you're opposed to that, then would you consider that if they voluntarily went and looked for a job, we could cut the benefits?"

Further negotiations between the federal government and the state could also aid the application's chances, if portions aren't to CMS's liking.

For more on the Medicaid waiver, plus a deeper look at the changing tide of healthcare -- check out witf’s Transforming Health.

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Comments: 7

  • Larry img 2014-03-31 06:22

    Where are Conestoga Wood & Hobby Lobby while thousands of people have died and continue to die from being uninsured.

    Where was their rage as 45,000 uninsured died per year prior to the ACA?

    Corbett, who is pro life is allowing these people to continue to die for the sake of his plan.

    This is not pro life, or may not have anything to do with pro life.

    How sad.

    • Giskard Raventlov img 2014-03-31 13:47

      Larry, way to skew the facts.
      Every year there are about 2.5 million deaths in the US, with a population of about 312 million that is a rate of about 0.8%. Assuming that your 45,000 uninsured deaths is accurate, and that the Presidents 30 million uninsured Americans number is correct, then that would only be .15%. This means that there is a higher rate of death for insured people than for uninsured people - not much call for outrage with that fact.
      Second, about 6 million people lost their health insurance due to Obamacare. According to the White House's numbers there are been about 6 million people that have signed up for insurance through the exchanges (that's signed up, not approved and paying, just signed up). So at best that is a wash - no more people are insured because of Obamacare than prior to Obamacare.

      • Larry img 2014-03-31 17:56


        The fact is not skewed.

        You feel more concerned with the facts than those deaths, all who were loved by their families.

        Remember Giskard, no one should be a statistic.

        It is 45,000 uninsured were dying every prior to the ACA, Obama/Romney Care. The figure comes from the census bureau.

        Yes, the death rate is higher for insured than for uninsured, only because of our aging population, accidents, and gun fire.

        Progressives are working to reduce accidents and gun fire, but are obstructed by conservatives.

        But death should not occur in a civilized society because one cannot afford quality health care.

        And yes, some lost their health insurance because of Obamacare.

        The reason being is that Obamacare had requirements that included quality care.

        Those who lost their insurance had junk catastrophic plans that they would never be able to pay the deductible, or offered meaningless discounts for medical service. In other words these people were at risk of bankruptcy with these plans were they to have a major medical occurrence. These plans do not provide for full medical coverage, physical check ups and/or wellness programs.

        Regarding the success of Obamacare, that will not be know for years.

        Social Security and Medicaid were not fully participatory for years.
        Both these programs were under attack by conservatives too, and now are of and aid and assistance to all American elderly.

        Progressives are working to build a better civilization.

        I hope you will join us.

        • Giskard Raventlov img 2014-04-01 08:06

          Larry, I am very concerned about the deaths of those who are uninsured, just like I am concerned about those that have insurance but don't have access to health CARE (remember insurance is just a piece of paper if you can't find a doctor to take care of you). However that is no reason to force people to buy something that they choose to not have. Obamacare is about providing health insurance - not health care. Anyone that is sick can walk into any emergency room and that emergency room is required to treat them even if you don't have insurance.

          Progressives are causing more deaths by guns than any other group. Every (let me repeat EVERY) mass shooting that has occured in the US in the last 20 years has occured in a "Gun Free Zone". Those zones are the work of the progressive movement. The shooter in the Colorado theater a few years ago specifically looked for a Gun Free theater. Yes these Gun Free zones are opposed by conservatives, just like they should be opposed by anyone that is concerned with un-needed gun deaths - I hope you will join that goal.

          As for the myth of the "junk plans" my sister who had a hysterectomy is 50 years old lost her health care insurance because it didn't cover prenatal care. She specifically chose the plan that she had, because as an individual in a "Free" country, she was able to pick and choose what coverage she wanted to have. Now under the oppresive Progressive health care system that is Obamacare, she is required to pay for a service that she CANNOT ever use. I find it very offensive that you as well as all progressives feel that you know better what I (or my sister) needs better than we do. That is the height of arrogance. I find it amusing that when the US military is used for humanitarian reasons, the progressives are some of the first to cry "We shouldn't be the world's policemen" but yet they are the first to tell everyone what type of health insurance they should buy. Especially when the "Goal" of Obamacare was to provide affordable health insurance, but the reality is that without subsidies the insurances are significantly more expensive than they were before Obamacare.

          Everything that Conservatives said about Obamacare when it was being passed - people will lose their coverage despite the Presidents promise that they wouldn't, doctors would not accept these policies, companies will cut people's hours, people will lose their jobs, and most of all there will still be a significant number of uninsured after Obamacare - these are all coming true. What is the answer from the progressives - we just need to give it more time? Sorry, but a failure is a failure and the sooner that we realize this the better off we will be and the sooner we will be able to lower the number of people who are dying because the can't get health CARE instead of just worrying about the statistics on the unINSURED.

          • Larry img 2014-04-01 18:58


            You are spouting generalizations without examples, and that have no academic or professional documentation.

            If you want to converse with me you need to be specific and state your documentation.

            I will address two of your issues.

            If you go to the emergency room, they may treat you for a true emergency, they do not treat you if you find you have cancer. Cancer is not an emergency, and the hospital is not obligated to treat anyone for that medical problem who is uninsured and cannot pay. See your hospital for this fact.

            The second item I will address is the requirement that all have insurance. The reason being is that when a person does go to the emergency room without insurance, that cost is passed along to other consumers and patients in higher premiums and hospital bills. A double wammy. Again you can check this fact with any hospital administration. Though some hospitals are charities, as is LGH, they will tell you they are there to make a profit, they still pass the cost of emergency care along.

            Just The Facts!

            I personally do not want to be paying for others hospitalization, particularly the higher cost of emergency room service.

        • Giskard Raventlov img 2014-04-01 09:50

          And yes your number of 45,000 is not skewed, but your use of it is. You are trying to imply that those 45,000 people would not have died if they had insurance and the truth is that there is no evidence that that is the case.

        • Giskard Raventlov img 2014-04-01 13:41

          And yes your number of 45,000 is not skewed, but your use of it is. You are trying to imply that those 45,000 people would not have died if they had insurance and the truth is that there is no evidence that that is the case.

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