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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