Folly of state Medicaid plan
Gov. Tom Corbett and state legislators have gone home without passing a budget. But at least they have access to health care.
The same can't be said for more than 300,000 Pennsylvania residents, mostly low-income workers. They remain uninsured due to politics, even as the government continues to deny itself increased revenue that would result from covering them by expanding Medicaid.
Medicaid expansion to cover low-income workers is a key component of the Affordable Care Act - the "Obamacare" that Mr. Corbett and legislative conservatives loathe. So they kept Pennsylvania out of the program.
It remains a foolish decision. The plan called for the federal government to cover 100 percent of the cost for three years and 90 percent thereafter - a great deal.
Last week the Council on Economic Advisers issued a report on the impact in states that declined to expand Medicaid.
Failing to participate will cost the state $6.1 billion in economic activity and 35,000 jobs by 2017 - all of which would produce tax revenue. And: 1,100 women between 50 and 64 won't receive mammograms; 17,600 more women won't receive Pap smears; 25,000 people will have untreated depression; 13,700 more people per year will face catastrophic medical expenses; Pennsylvania will not receive $8.2 billion in federal support through 2016.
That is an awful lot of damage for the sake of politics. The state already has forfeited one year of the program; it should reverse course to start realizing the program's benefits in 2015.