A cross-post from Joan Alker, Director of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, who follows the Medicaid expansion efforts around the country closely. Original title – “Pennsylvania’s Medicaid Waiver Proposal Does Not Impress”:
Last Friday, Governor Corbett’s Administration released its Section 1115 waiver application draft. This initiates the process for the required 30-day state comment period that must precede the submission of the waiver request to the federal government. The state will be holding a series of public hearings and webinars with the final hearing in Harrisburg scheduled for January 9th. At stake is coverage for more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians.
There is a lot of interest and movement in many quarters in PA to move forward and accept the federal dollars to expand Medicaid to parents and other adults below 133% of the federal poverty line. Parents, as of January, will only be eligible for Medicaid at a measly 38% of the FPL in Pennsylvania. Indeed PA is bordered by two states with Republican governors—Ohio and New Jersey – which have done a straight Medicaid expansion that will go into effect January 1st.
Reading the proposal, I had to wonder whether or not Governor Corbett really wanted to move forward in accepting federal funding to offer coverage to more uninsured Pennsylvanians. The proposal, which is the first in the nation to seek to condition eligibility for Medicaid on work search requirements, lays out a complicated maze of bureaucratic foxholes that will result in massive red tape and unprecedented government scrutiny into the lives of these low-income adults. The proposal is more punitive and restrictive than any Medicaid expansion proposal I have seen so far.