The new Affordable Care Act allows that we accept $43.3 billion from the federal government to expand Medicaid to 700,000 Pennsylvanians.
The majority of uninsured folks are working, make more than $5,000 per year, which disqualifies them from Medicaid benefits. Yet they don’t make enough to purchase private health insurance. They are also disproportionately women, who typically have jobs in the service sector, such as working as a waitress or as a long-term care worker. Many of these women have families and struggle to stay healthy for their children. All hard-working Pennsylvanians deserve access to care without falling into crushing debt.
So, do we accept $43.3 billion in federal funds to cut the rate of uninsured in half, creating tens of thousands of jobs, and saving taxpayers $848 million that would otherwise be spent treating the uninsured in emergency rooms, which is ineffective as far as preventative care is concerned and very costly, too? Or do we send that money back to Washington, D.C.?
The answer is clear and commonsensical. That’s why even Republican governors that were very much opposed to health insurance reform have come out in favor of this. Since we haven’t yet accepted the fact that Medicare for all is the most efficient and effective way to deliver health care – granted that no system is perfect – then Pennsylvania must move forward with Medicaid expansion.
It’s an investment in our human capital formation that pays long-term dividends.