Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion

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There is growing bipartisan agreement that the optional expansion of Medicaid provided by the Affordable Care Act is too good an opportunity to pass up.

Last week, the Governors of Arizona and North Dakota, both Republicans, announced their intention to opt-in to the Medicaid expansion, joining their counterparts in Nevada and New Mexico. To date, 14 states have decided to expand Medicaid in 2014, and another seven are leaning toward expansion. Pennsylvania remains among the 21 undecided states.

Third and State Recap: The Medicaid Expansion, Lost Education Jobs and Costs of Lottery Privatization

Over the past two weeks at Third and State, we blogged about lost jobs in public schools, the latest state jobs report, what's at stake in the decision to expand Pennsylvania's Medicaid program, how much lottery privatization could end up costing seniors' programs, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about new data showing employment in Pennsylvania's public schools was at a decade low in the 2011-12 school year. Mark Price also put Pennsylvania's December jobs report in some perspective.
  • On health care, Michael Wood highlighted an infographic showing that if Pennsylvania opts out of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, it will create a coverage gap for working families earning between 46% and 100% of poverty.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that the Corbett administration's plan to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery could end up costing seniors' programs a billion dollars or more.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Mark Price wrote about the latest numbers on direct jobs created by shale drilling, which accounts for just 0.38% of all Pennsylvania jobs.
  • On the state budget, Kate Atkins wrote about Bucks County students who served up a tasty five-star meal to area elected officials last week to underscore the value of investing in career training and technical education.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

PA Job Numbers: 2012 Ends With A Whimper

The Bureau of Labor Statistics today reported that the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania rose slightly in December to 7.9% (up slightly from 7.8% in November). Nonfarm payrolls in Pennsylvania declined in December by 4,800 jobs.

Public School Employment Hits Decade Low in Pennsylvania

Employment in Pennsylvania's public schools was at a decade low in the 2011-12 school year, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pennsylvania Lottery Privatization Could Cut Funds for Senior Programs by a Billion Dollars or More

The Corbett administration seems bound and determined to privatize the management of Pennsylvania's lottery despite public and legislative skepticism. In the latest plot twist, the administration announced late Friday that it had already awarded the contract to Camelot Global Services PRIOR TO a Senate Finance Committee hearing held today.

Lunch Is Served: Bucks Students Make a Tasty Case for Investing in Career Training

If the high school students were a little nervous as they prepared lunch Thursday for several Bucks County elected officials, they didn’t show it.

Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind

Federal health care reform is moving forward thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year — and it is a great deal for Pennsylvania. Unless the state decides to “opt out,” Medicaid coverage will be expanded to include many Pennsylvanians who are uninsured.

One group that will benefit immediately are parents with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level ($25,390 for a family of three). The benefits don’t end there: others who don’t receive health coverage through their work will be able to buy insurance on a competitive health marketplace or exchange — making coverage more affordable.

However, if Governor Corbett prevents the Medicaid expansion, it will create a coverage gap for families between 46% and 100% of poverty, as the chart below shows (click on it for a larger view).

Those families between 46% and 100% of poverty earn too much to qualify for Medicaid (for a family of three, this means earning over $8,781 but less than the federal poverty line of $19,090). These families won’t receive Medicaid coverage, and they won’t receive subsidies to buy health coverage.

We all benefit when more people have health coverage. Let’s make the right decision in Pennsylvania and expand Medicaid coverage.

About that Tsunami of Jobs ...

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry is out with a new count on the jobs created from natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Third and State This Week: What to Make of Fiscal Cliff Deal, PA Revenue Update & Slow Down Lottery Privatization

It was a short week at Third and State coming off the holidays, but we still have a few must reads for you. We blogged about the Fiscal Cliff deal, the Corbett administration's decision to slow down the lottery privatization train and the latest on state revenue collections.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On federal taxes, Sharon Ward wrote that the Fiscal Cliff deal reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing — and it leaves much unsettled.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood blogged about December revenue collections which put the state $171 million ahead of estimates midway through the 2012-13 Fiscal Year.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the Corbett administration made the right decision in slowing down the lottery privatization train and that even more time was needed for a full and transparent review.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact Going Forward

With a strong December showing, the commonwealth now has a General Fund revenue surplus of $171 million (1.4% above estimate) for the first half of the 2012-13 fiscal year, double the Corbett administration’s revised estimate for the entire fiscal year. The strong December collections exceeded estimate by $112 million (or 4.8%).

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