Lawmakers Warn Medicaid Expansion Will Impact Taxpayers, Patients, Doctors
HARRISBURG -- Several House Republicans held a press conference today in Harrisburg to urge Gov. Tom Corbett to officially reject the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, stressing the impact that the flawed Medicaid program has on patients, doctors and taxpayers.

Rep. Gordon Denlinger (R-Lancaster), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Policy, noted that a massive expansion of Medicaid, the federal insurance program previously reserved for the most needy, would hurt the very people who need assistance the most while at the same time damaging our already fragile statewide economy.

“From the first time I analyzed the cost versus benefit of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as ObamaCare, it was readily apparent that the ACA is a budget buster for Pennsylvania,” Denlinger said. “And, with last week’s news that the American economy has contracted for the first time since 2008, the General Assembly needs to proceed with caution. It is my belief that ObamaCare will force cuts to many of our state’s long-held budget priorities.”

House Majority Whip Stan Saylor (R-York), sponsor of a resolution aimed at turning Medicaid into a federal block grant, agreed.

“A massive expansion of Medicaid that will cause taxes to skyrocket, force people to compete for appointments with fewer doctors and the state having to slash reimbursement rates and delay payments in order to manage billing is nothing we should aspire to or celebrate,” Saylor said. “The track record of adhering to federal Medicaid guidelines is replete with wasted taxpayer dollars and subpar medical service for patients. Block granting Medicaid funds would allow us to use these resources in the manner that best serves Pennsylvanians.”

Beyond the concerns of cutting programs in the state budget or raising taxes to prevent those cuts, lawmakers expressed a desire to find a health care solution that works, instead of expanding a federal program that has not met the needs of patients.

“If we are truly interested in creating a more accessible and cost-effective health care system, this is not the answer. Expanding Medicaid will only compound our problems and could actually have the unintended consequence of decreasing health care accessibility, while increasing the cost for all Pennsylvanians,” said Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster). I strongly urge the governor to find some alternative to this costly and detrimental option, such as revisiting the legislation contained in the House Republican Health Care Plan from sessions past. We spent a lot of time studying what would work best for patients, providers and taxpayers, and the recommendations are still relevant.
Rep. Tim Krieger (R-Delmont) explained that the numbers just don’t add up.

“To judge whether the Commonwealth should expand eligibility for Medicaid in Pennsylvania, one need only look at the numbers. Under the existing program, 32 percent of our doctors will not accept new Medicaid patients because of the low reimbursement rates. And based upon information available from the Department of Public Welfare, there are now only 1.9 workers employed in the private sector supporting each person receiving Medicaid coverage, down from 13 workers in 1966.

“So while it may feel good to say we are providing coverage, many patients end up with Medicaid insurance health care ‘coverage,’ but with no or little real ‘health care.’ The burden placed upon our productive people is already greater than they can continue to bear. Worst of all, expanding an already failing program will do nothing more than condemn more of our people to a life of dependency and substandard care. Expanding Medicaid eligibility will be bad for everyone: Bad for patients; bad for doctors; and bad for taxpayers,” added Krieger.

Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) said lowering the bar to accommodate everyone instead of fixing what is broken is not the way to approach the problem.
“Under the well-intentioned, but severely flawed Medicaid program, patients actually suffer worse health outcomes than those who are uninsured. And because of the way the program is operated, fewer and fewer doctors are willing to accept Medicaid patients, further eroding the quality and accessibility of care. The costs to hard-working Pennsylvania taxpayers of expanding Medicaid will be in the billions of dollars, at a time when they are already stretched to the limit. Under Medicaid, patients lose, doctors lose and taxpayers lose.”

Representative Tim Krieger, 57th District
House Majority Whip Stan Saylor, 94th District
Representative Gordon Denlinger, 99th District
Representative Bryan Cutler, 100th District
Representative Stephen Bloom, 199th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Abbey Fosnot
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