Harrisburg, PA – On Wednesday, May 7, Pennsylvania House Representative Pamela DeLissio (D-194, Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties), with the support of other House Democrats, issued a discharge resolution to bring HB 897 – which calls for real Medicaid Expansion – out of the Health Committee and onto the floor for a vote.
“Today, Representative DeLissio and other House Democrats stood up for 500,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians who have been denied access to care,” said Neal Bisno, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “It is time House Republicans and Governor Corbett listen to their colleagues and the majority of Pennsylvanians calling for real Medicaid Expansion.”
A recent poll by Public Policy Polling indicated that 59% of Pennsylvanian voters support the expansion of Medicaid, which protects and expands Pennsylvania’s vital safety net for over 1.2 million uninsured citizens, provides 35,000 family-sustaining jobs and saves taxpayers $522 million in 2014. In contrast, Governor Corbett’s proposed alternative plan, Healthy PA, aims to increase costs and reduce access and benefits for current Medicaid beneficiaries while facing an uncertain approval process by the federal government.
For uninsured Pennsylvanians, like Wayne Byrd, a home healthcare worker from Philadelphia, who offered testimony last week to the House Human Services Committee, any delay for healthcare coverage is too long. “I was $100 short of qualifying for coverage on the online marketplace. My family has a history of prostate cancer and Medicaid Expansion would allow me to see a doctor and get the testing I need. For the sake of other uninsured healthcare workers and those we take care of, we need to pass Medicaid Expansion today.”
By refusing to accept Medicaid Expansion, Governor Corbett and House Republicans are costing Pennsylvania $4.7 million per daily, according to an Independent Fiscal Office report. Just last week, the Independent Fiscal Office released its initial revenue forecast for fiscal year 2014-15, projecting a year-end budget deficit approaching $1 billion.
“Each day we fail to expand Medicaid, our state loses millions of dollars of sorely needed revenue that could be used to provide access to healthcare and thousands of jobs for the Commonwealth,” Bisno continued, “With a projected budget shortfall of $600 million, Pennsylvania citizens cannot afford to wait any longer.”
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing union of health care workers, representing 25,000 nurses, technicians, nursing assistants, and support staff in hospitals, nursing homes and public institutions across the Commonwealth. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is committed to improving the lives of health care workers and ensuring quality, affordable healthcare for all Pennsylvanians.