Kasich, Corbett & Medicaid

Published by Tim McNulty on .

KasichOhio governor, former Fox News talking head (and McKees Rocks native) John Kasich announced as part of his budget today that state will join the federal government in expanding Medicare. Politico is already writing that he "caved to President Barack Obama."

So what will Gov. Tom Corbett do? The P-G's Bill Toland wrote about the choice Sunday, in advance of the governor's budget speech tomorrow morning:

So far, Mr. Corbett has shown no signs that he will, but neither has he suggested that he will slam the door completely this week, when he unveils his proposed budget. If Mr. Corbett intends to expand Medicaid eligibility in 2014, he may account for it in his 2013-14 budget -- or he may hold back and use the Medicaid expansion as a bargaining chit during budget negotiations.

Mr. Corbett faces pressure from not only minority Democrats, but also advocates for the poor, the politically powerful AARP, and hospital networks.

"We have supported Medicaid expansion and continue to do so," said Roger Baumgarten, spokesman for the The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, partly because uninsured and underinsured patients still use hospital emergency rooms, forcing Pennsylvania hospitals absorb nearly $1 billion a year in unreimbursed costs.

Foes of expansion include Republicans such as state Reps. Tim Krieger, Stephen Bloom, Matt Gabler and House Majority Whip Stan Saylor, who have scheduled a Monday press conference, urging the governor to spike the Medicaid deal because of its "destructive impacts."

"It's daunting," Mr. Krieger, R-Westmoreland, said last week. "Just from 2000 to 2012, Medicaid expenditures have doubled," and with 1 in 6 Americans already enrolled in Medicaid, growth in the program isn't sustainable, he said.

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