Re: Medicaid Coverage Opportunity
Dear Governor Corbett,
We write to strongly urge you to take advantage of the opportunity given to Pennsylvania to strengthen the current Medicaid program by extending coverage to working families in the Commonwealth. Starting in 2014, states will be able to cover all adults up to 138 percent of poverty. Doing so would drastically reduce the number of uninsured adults, while simultaneously offering Pennsylvania tremendous cost savings opportunities, including savings on uncompensated care costs, behavioral health expenses, immunizations and other costs currently born by the Commonwealth. The undersigned groups respectfully request and urge you to move forward with the Medicaid coverage opportunity.
The opportunity to provide insurance to Pennsylvania’s working families, made possible by federal health reform legislation, will strengthen the Commonwealth’s economy, create jobs, and improve health outcomes for working Pennsylvanians who lack access to affordable health insurance. It is estimated that the expansion would inject over $17 billion into our economy. These new federal dollars will support hospitals, health clinics, long term care professionals, health and behavioral health professionals, while allowing the commonwealth the flexibility to implement the expansion in a manner that best meets the needs of its citizens.
When fully implemented, federal funds will contribute 9 out of every 10 dollars necessary to support this opportunity for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, including parents, people with disabilities and working adults. Currently the state must contribute much more in similar state/ federal partnership programs.
Right now more than 1.3 million Pennsylvanians do not have health insurance. This population often turns to emergency rooms for care and uncompensated care costs at Pennsylvania’s hospitals have continued to increase. Increasing levels of uncompensated care also results in higher premiums for those with private insurance. Hospitals currently receive federal funding to help alleviate these costs, but this amount will be cut by almost 75 percent beginning in 2014.Without the Medicaid expansion, the half-a-million people left uninsured will place increased demand on hospitals for uncompensated care just as funding is cut. The results could be devastating for hospitals, their communities and the economies of the areas they serve.
Addressing the health insurance needs of these adults is the right and smart thing to do. By helping this population gain coverage we could reduce the number of uninsured in Pennsylvania between 41.5 percent and 67.2 percent. Bringing insurance coverage to many more Pennsylvanians means that they will be able to receive regular check-ups and preventative services, follow-up care for illnesses and management of chronic diseases. Treatment for manageable conditions results in a healthier and more productive workforce and higher rates of employment among those with disabilities.
The Medicaid expansion opportunity is an unparalleled chance to provide affordable health insurance for up to a half-a-million Pennsylvanians. It will bring much needed revenue into our state while drastically cutting the number of uninsured individuals. Money gained from the Medicaid expansion will stimulate local economies and generate tax revenue for our state. We urge you to take action to ensure that the Pennsylvania Medicaid program is expanded for the good of all.
Thank you in advance for your consideration. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this issue further please contact Antoinette Kraus with the Pennsylvania Health Access Network at firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-971-1680