Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner today expressed extreme concern with Governor Corbett’s choice, to date, to leave out so many Allegheny County, and Pennsylvania, taxpayers by foregoing the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion, which would have brought health care to nearly 100,000 uninsured County residents, funded gaps in the State’s budget, fueled job growth for small business owners and made health services available for some of our most vulnerable families. As Corbett reviews the budget passed by the General Assembly, which includes Corbett’s Healthy PA Plan, Wagner is urging the Governor to reconsider this aspect of the budget and recognize the disparate impact that his plan will have on his home county.
“There is a tremendous need for Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania, especially in Allegheny County,” Wagner wrote. “Currently, more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians are uninsured, and 98,940 of them are Allegheny County residents. In other words, one-fifth of Pennsylvania residents living without insurance reside in our county. Under the federal government’s Affordable Care Act, with Medicaid Expansion, those nearly 100,000 Allegheny County residents would be provided with health insurance. I cannot understand how Governor Corbett would want to roll the dice on these people and on our economy. Especially after announcing a plan that denies so many of our insured residents in-network coverage to our hospitals. Now he wants to force feed Allegheny County a “double-whammy,” denying healthcare to even more of our residents. This is unconscionable, especially from a Governor that is from Allegheny County.”
In Allegheny County, there are 98,940 residents without health insurance, 74% are working full-time, the majority of which are married, Caucasian men between ages 19 and 25 who live below the poverty level, are employed in the trades, have a high school diploma and speak English.
In a Taxpayer Alert issued today, Wagner detailed two primary ways that Allegheny County would benefit from Medicaid Expansion. First, it would bring accessible, affordable health care to County residents. Second, Pennsylvania would receive billions more in federal subsidies over the next six years.
Without Medicaid Expansion, nearly 100,000 County residents are left without health coverage and Pennsylvania’s economy will forego approximately $16.5 billion in federal inflows in a seven-year period. Without the expansion, Pennsylvania will be shorted $2.5 billion in 2016, which is money that not only improves healthcare directly, but bolsters our local economy, which is heavily dependent on the “meds” sector, with all of the indirect spending.
Wagner applauded the House and Senate Democrats for fighting for the expansion, but emphasized that it is now time for Governor Corbett to rise above politics and rise to the occasion. “This is an issue that is too critical for those of us in Allegheny County. We need this for our residents and we need it for our healthcare.”