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Corbett announces Medicaid plan

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 16 2013 05:03:54 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 17 2013 05:10:09 AM CDT

Health care coverage for all.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Health care coverage for all.

President Obama's Affordable Care Act is supposed to be the answer. But Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has his own plan.

Governor Tom Corbett says Washington does not have all the answers.

He says his plan is a better way to provide affordable health care for all Pennsylvanians.

After a tour of Harrisburg's Pinnacle Health Hospital's ER and some quick baby talk, Governor Tom Corbett got down to what he hopes is a healthy dose of political pressure for Washington.

"Today I'm sending a formal proposal to the Obama administration," Corbett said.

Dubbed "Healthy Pennsylvania," it's Corbett's plan to reform the state's Medicaid program.

"A Pennsylvania plan based on common sense reforms to our Medicaid program, to make it sustainable now and into the future," he went on to say.

The plan focuses on improving access, ensuring quality and providing affordability.

Such as keeping CHIP and eliminating the mandatory six-month waiting period currently in place. It also seeks additional federal funding to build and expand more primary health care clinics, cut and combine the number of separate Medicaid packages and increase access to health care for the 500,000 state-wide who are currently uninsured.

"Through the 'Healthy Pennsylvania Option' [you] would have the ability to purchase private health insurance plans through the federal health insurance exchange," Corbett said.

The plan gained kudos from the state's Medical Society and Hospital and Healthsystem Association.

"The broad aim of access, quality and affordability align well with hospital priorities," Andy Carter of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association said.

However critics, like the Commonwealth Foundation, a free market think tank say the concern is private premiums for the poor, especially for those on welfare, will become too expensive.

Senate Democrats remain convinced the best and most effective option for the newly eligible individuals is Pennsylvania's existing Medicaid program.

Corbett's plan does need to be approved by Health and Human Services in Washington DC.