Philly City Council talks about Obamacare but can't act
March 22, 2013By Tom MacDonald @tmacdonaldwhyy
Philadelphia City Council held a hearing about Governor Corbett's decision not to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, mostly listening to Corbett critics. But council doesn't have power to do anything about it.
Rep. Gene DiGirolamo of (R-Bensalem), chairman of the state house Human Services Committee, likely could do something about it. He says expanding Medicaid is the only way to provide proper care for the poor.
"This is going to cover between 700,000 and 800,000 Pennsylvanians with health insurance," said DiGirolamo. "Most of these people are in the workforce making minimum wage, $10, $12 $14 an hour with no healthcare coverage at their place of employment."
He says if Pennsylvania were to expand Medicaid, it would receive billions in federal funding over the next several years.
Governor Corbett is concerned whether federal funding would get slashed and Pennsylvania would be left paying far more, even though Washington is pledging to pay 100 percent of the costs initial costs and 90 percent thereafter.
State Senator Vincent Hughes says the expansion would help the economy because of the federal funding.
"We save probably $440 million of current state spending," said Hughes. "What that does is frees up those dollars for use in other areas."
Many Republican governors who were against the expansion have reversed course lately, including New Jersey's Chris Christie. Corbett is expected to discuss the issue with federal officials in coming weeks.