Expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania: Secure Coverage and a Stronger Economy

Update: After the Pennsylvania Senate voted 40-10 to include the expansion of Medicaid in a must-pass Welfare Code bill, the House derailed the effort on July 1, taking the provision out of the bill. The Welfare Code bill was signed into law by the Governor without the expansion provision.

It is important to remember that the House vote is not a defeat. Just like the fight to pass health care reform — which had many victories and setbacks along the way — it's a process. There are many lawmakers and advocates working hard to ensure Pennsylvania takes this unparalleled federal opportunity to extend health coverage to between 600,000 and 800,000 hardworking low-income Pennsylvanians.

Read more about legislative action on the Medicaid expansion.

About Medicaid Expansion

Pennsylvania has an unparalleled opportunity to expand health coverage to between 600,000 and 800,000 hardworking low-income Pennsylvanians, lowering the state's uninsured rate by over 50% and giving the state's health care economy a shot in the arm.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the option of expanding Medicaid coverage to families earning up to 138% of the federal poverty limit ($30,675 for a family of four in 2012). The federal government will pay all of the costs of the expansion between 2014 and 2017, and 90% of the costs by 2019.

Watch a Webinar

Making Medicaid Expansion a Reality in Pennsylvania
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In this webinar, Jesse Cross-Call of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C. presents an overview of the Medicaid expansion; Sharon Ward of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center discusses recent studies showing the economic benefits of expanding coverage in Pennsylvania; and Antoinette Kraus of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network  explains what's happening on the ground to make expansion in the commonwealth a reality.

View PowerPoint Presentation

Learn More

Expanding Health Care Is Good for Pa. Veterans: Despite having put their health and lives at risk while serving in the armed forces, 1.3 million U.S. veterans—including 47,000 here in Pennsylvania—lack health insurance. As many as 23,000 uninsured Pennsylvania veterans could obtain coverage with the Medicaid expansion.

Get the Facts on Expansion Like all states, Pennsylvania must redesign its health care infrastructure regardless of whether it expands Medicaid. There is no reason that the expansion could not take effect in January 2014 if policymakers allocate the federal dollars in the 2013-14 budget. Read a fact sheet about the expansion in Pennsylvania.

Expanding Health Care Is Good for PA's Economy and Budget: A study by the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) finds that between 2016 and 2021 Medicaid expansion will produce $430 million more annually, on average, for Pennsylvania’s state budget. That includes state budget savings and tax revenue growth from new medical jobs and businesses created to treat the 400,000 uninsured adults and children who will be eligible for health coverage. All told, expansion is projected to add about $3 billion annually to Pennsylvania’s economy between 2016 and 2021, according to the IFO.

Another study by the Pennsylvania Economy League and PA Health Funders Collaborative finds that the expansion of Medicaid will support 35,000 jobs by 2016 and 40,000 jobs by 2022. That is consistent with another recent study from the Hospital and HealthSystem Association of Pennsylvania finding that an expansion of Medicaid will add 35,000 to 39,000 jobs over the next seven years.

Op-ed: Expanding Medicaid Smart Thing to Do in Pa.: Last month, Governor Chris Christie announced that New Jersey would accept federal funds to extend Medicaid health coverage to more than 300,000 New Jerseyans because it was “the smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health.” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett should follow the lead of his fellow governor, Sharon Ward and Raymond Castro write in an op-ed.

Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind: If Pennsylvania does not agree to expand Medicaid health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, it will create a coverage gap for families between 46% and 100% of poverty. These families won’t receive Medicaid coverage, and they won’t be eligible for subsidies to purchase private health coverage.

Pennsylvania's Economy Will Benefit from Expanding Medicaid: A new report from Families USA and the Pennsylvania Health Access Network finds that the optional expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act — and the billions in annual federal investments that come with it — would support more than 41,200 new jobs across Pennsylvania's economy in 2016. Read a blog post about the economic report.

Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion: There is growing bipartisan agreement that the optional expansion of Medicaid provided by the Affordable Care Act is too good an opportunity to pass up. Governor Tom Corbett said during his budget address on February 5 that Pennsylvania would not expand Medicaid but in late February announced he would meet with federal officials to discuss the issue.

Legislative Testimony

PBPC Director Sharon Ward testifies in support of expanding Medicaid at June 20 House hearing.

PBPC Director Sharon Ward testifies in support of expanding Medicaid at June 6 House hearing.

Take Action

Take Action to Cover the Commonwealth: An Advocacy Toolkit
Pennsylvania Health Access Network

Health Reform's Medicaid Expansion: A Toolkit for State Advocates
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Medicaid Expansion Center
Families USA