If you read the supreme court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, the most basic way to describe the ruling is that the entire law was upheld with two caveats:
- The individual mandate is constitutional only under congress’ taxing authority (not the commerce clause); and
- The federal government does not have the power to penalize states as heavily if the states decide to opt-out of the law’s Medicaid expansion.
The individual mandate obviously has been getting most of the coverage — but some of the media is finally turning to the importance of states being able to opt-out of its Medicaid expansion; this was brought on by states like Florida and South Carolina deciding to opt out and other red states signaling that they might also. Just to put things in perspective, if Florida opts out of the Medicaid expansion, 951,622 people expected to gain Medicaid coverage won’t get it.
Since Mr. Corbett started getting pressed on the issue, he’s been giving non-answers like:
“I will work to ensure Pennsylvanians have access to affordable and quality health care.”
And his administration spokeswoman saying:
“We need to take the time to review the decision and see what our options are.”
Estimates put the number of Pennsylvanians that will now be eligible for Medicaid at approximately 800,000. It’s not like Pennsylvania has to foot the bill for this fully, either. Funding starts from the federal government at 100% of costs until 2017, where it drops to 95%, then to 90% in 2020.
Everybody should hold Corbett’s feet to the fire on this. If he actually wants Pennsylvanians to have access to health care, he should be 100% game for the Medicaid expansion — and go on record as saying such as soon as possible. Aren’t Republicans supposed to hate economic uncertainty?