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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on witf’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Hosted by: Scott LaMar



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Hosted by: Matt Paul and Mary Wilson



witf introduces 'Smart Talk Friday' radio program

Radio Smart Talk: Should Medicaid be expanded in PA?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Mar 12, 2013 1:14 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Wednesday, March 13:

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One of the top aims of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is to provide health insurance to those who are currently uninsured.

Under the ACA, the federal government would fund the expansion of Medicaid programs on the state level.  Washington would pick up 100% of the cost for the first three years and 90% after that.  However, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the ACA last year, states could opt out by deciding not to accept the federal money.

So far, 24 states have agreed to take the funding, including eight states with Republican governors who opposed the ACA in the first place.

At this point, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett has decided not to accept the Medicaid money, saying he wants assurances that Pennsylvania taxpayers won't be left on the hook.  Corbett says he will meet with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius soon to discuss whether accepting the money could fall back on the state.

The Pennsylvania Health Access Network, which advocates for the Affordable Care Act, says Corbett is missing out on $43.3 billion in new Medicaid funds over the next 10 years that would provide insurance to half of the uninsured in Pennsylvania.

PHAN Director Antionette Kraus will appear on Wednesday's Radio Smart Talk to make the case.

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PHAN Director Antionette Kraus

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Comments: 8

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-13 08:12

    Email from From Dana:

    Corbett lead by example.
    Opt out of your govt provided health care.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-13 08:19

    Email from From Lee, York:

    I'm trying to compare NJ with PA. Both have GOP Governors. One says that he could not afford to turn down free money from the federal government that would help the State's citizens, but stated that if things changed in the future the State may change its mind.

    The second State said that they could not afford to accept the free money because of the hidden costs.

    Can your guest explain how these two governors can come up with vastly different bottom lines when reviewing the costs?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-13 08:33

    Email from Kara:

    I'm a local bankruptcy attorney (in Harrisburg) and have found that Medical debt and health problems are a major part of what leads to a large percentage of bankruptcy filing. Not only is the debt often too high to pay but untreated medical problems often lead to people having to miss work and then they end up losing their jobs and the financial problems spiral... Then they might miss a mortgage payment, use a credit card for groceries...Making it easier for people to afford healthcare would be a huge help for individuals as well as society.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-13 08:41

    Email from Claire

    I am disgusted that this question even needs to be asked. The real truth is that people in PA are going into bankruptcy and even dying from lack of access to affordable health care. Yet these decisions are being made by politicians with great health care and easy access to any kind of specialist they want. They have no understanding of how it is to try to pay for basic preventative care (for example diabetes) without basic insurance.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-13 08:56

    Email from Claire (follow-up)

    Actually, I am too frustrated to even listen to your show. We are in the process of moving out of PA, and this short sighted political partisanship by our elected officials makes it easier. I would write to the governor, but I have no expectation that would change anything.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-13 08:57

    Email from Lee, York:

    The Congressional Budget Office has calculated the costs of "Obamacare". In July 2012 trhe CBO said:

    What Is the Impact of Repealing the ACA on the Federal Budget?
    Assuming that H.R. 6079 is enacted near the beginning of fiscal year 2013, CBO and JCT estimate that, on balance, the direct spending and revenue effects of enacting that legislation would cause a net increase in federal budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013–2022 period. Specifically, we estimate that H.R. 6079 would reduce direct spending by $890 billion and reduce revenues by $1 trillion between 2013 and 2022, thus adding $109 billion to federal budget deficits over that period.

    I believe that that has been updated recently to show a net reduction in federal debt, but I could not find the reference.

  • tds img 2013-03-13 09:16

    The bankruptcy lawyer made a good point. To expand that point, the US is the only major industrialized nation in the world in which people go bankrupt from healthcare costs.

    Of course we would do better to have a single payer / public option approach. That has zero chance so long as the Republicans have enough power to prevent it. That's why we have to join together to make the ACA work.

    The major difficulty is that most Americans have been brought up to believe that universal healthcare - which is broadly successful across the rest of the civilized world - is part of some kind of socialist/communist plot. It is not. It makes sense, and it works, and it's affordable, and it can give a platform to drastically reduce costs while giving higher quality healthcare.

    • Robert Colgan img 2013-03-13 11:34

      Absolutely. Agree.
      Manipulation to persuade people that "socialism" is a threat to individual liberties is the great lie of the Koch and Petersen types who "own" the Republican Congress.

      Common weal, Common wealth--------the very foundation of the collective ownership of services and goods beneficial to ALL citizens (transportation, communication, education, medical access, water/soil/air, defense, justice, etc)-------has been misrepresented to be "bad" while the lie that private ownership for profit is "good" has been their mantra. . . and the American people are too ignorant to see the lie for what it is.

      People like Corbett continue the lie.
      He'll privatize everything if he can and claim its in the interest of PA citizens, a lie.

      The PPACA continues the lie because it advances privatization of coverage-----instead of the commonweal universal coverage every other civilized nation has for its citizens.

      Medicaid is part of the commonweal--------the shared nurturance of all citizens by all citizens for all citizens.
      MEDICARE FOR ALL is what we need.

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