What’s Up With Tom Corbett’s Fake Medicaid Expansion Plan?

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Randy LoBasso has a helpful post mapping out the process for getting CorbettCare approved by the federal government. Basically they haven’t even applied yet for the 1115 waiver they need, and when they do, we’ll have to go through a whole public process. My guess is that Corbett just wants to take Medicaid off the table as a 2014 campaign issue, and isn’t really going to try to get the waiver approved before Election Day 2014. That’s why it matters whether Democratic candidates for Governor support real Medicaid expansion – they’re probably going to get to make the call on this:

Huh. Well, let’s say the federal government is cool and gives Corbett the waiver. Then what?

Hold on a second. If only it were that easy. The waiver may come, but it won’t come any time soon. Even if Healthy PA were approved today, or tomorrow, it’d still be months before a Medicaid expansion program could go into place. Even though those states which complied with the original Obamacare writing have seen residents sign up all season.

“In order to get an 1115 waiver approved there must be a formal notice and comment period at the state and federal levels,” notes Mace. “Pennsylvania must host at least two public hearings and have a 30-day comment period.”

And legally speaking, Corbett’s Healthy PA plan has no authority. It’s really just some ideas on paper that may or may not hold water. But the federal government is currently in talks with the administration about whether or not all or some aspects of that particular plan may go through. I say “some aspects” here because the idea for a work-search requirement has already been killed by the feds in other states. Because come on.

If a Democrat beats Corbett in 2014, will s/he have to comply with Healthy PA instead of the Obamacare-written Medicaid expansion?

That depends. A new governor will probably be able to undo Corbett’s plan once in office. Mostly because the federal government needs to approve any Medicaid plan and it’s a given that the federal government will approve of the plan signed into law by President Obama.

But, according to Mace, if the situation were to come up where we have a Democratic governor and a Republican expansion plan put in place with the 1115 waiver, the Democrat can likely go through the same waiver process the Republican had already done.

Or, they could try to pass a bill expanding Medicaid according to the original plan via the state Legislature. This almost happened in the spring, when the state Senate passed Senate Bill 12, written by state Sen. Vincent Hughes. But that bill was later killed by the House, then, when it went back to the Senate, killed again.

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