Governor Tom Corbett said he is waiting for more information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services before making any further decisions on a taxpayer-funded expansion of health insurance to uninsured Pennsylvanians.
Corbett met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in Washington, D.C. Tuesday evening.
"We had a meaningful discussion around increasing access to affordable, quality health care in a way that would lessen the burden on the state's taxpayers in the long-term," Corbett said in a statement Wednesday. "I want to thank the secretary for her time and attention to our questions."
Corbett said the meeting was intended to clarify information and answer additional questions on Medicaid expansion and a federally-facilitated health insurance exchange in Pennsylvania.
The governor said he reiterated his goal to increase access to affordable healthcare coverage options for Pennsylvanians, but made it clear that without meaningful reform of the Medicaid program, expansion remains an unsustainable option.
Corbett said he sought answers to several key questions, including verification that the 100 percent federal match is available for Pennsylvania.
He said he also requested information around using the private insurance market to expand coverage in Pennsylvania, similar to what Arkansas and Tennessee are pursuing, coupled with significant reforms to Pennsylvania's current Medicaid program to protect the program for those citizens who need it the most.
"Until we know whether or not significant reform is possible, I continue to have concerns that Pennsylvania's Medicaid program will be able to serve, in a sustainable manner, the approximately one in four Pennsylvanians that would be covered under a full expansion," Corbett said.
The federal government is promising to pay the full cost of an eligible state's expansion for three years beginning next year, and at least 90 percent of the cost after that. The expansion is projected to provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of low-income Pennsylvanians.