When is a Medicaid expansion not a Medicaid expansion? When corrupt Republican governors try to get their greedy mitts on federal dollars while imposing draconian measures intended to shame the poor even more than they already do.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has decided to avail the state of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Sort of. Not really.
But Gov. Tom Corbett said Monday he's willing to use billions in federal Medicaid expansion funds to enable roughly 500,000 uninsured Pennsylvania residents to buy health insurance coverage on the Obamacare health insurance exchange.
He'll do so only if the Obama administration gives in on many things, including allowing Corbett to impose new work and cost sharing requirements on people already covered by Medicaid, as well as on those who would obtain the new coverage.
In announcing his plan, Corbett argued Medicaid is intended to cover only the most vulnerable, and Pennsylvania's version has grown far too big and is bloated with unneeded benefits.
He said he refuses to add more people to Medicaid, and he won't use Obamacare funds to expand coverage unless his requested changes are allowed.
Those requested changes include cost-sharing requirements and the added requirement that anyone qualifying for coverage because they earn less than 138 percent of the poverty level also fulfill a work requirement.
Think about that, Governor Corbett. You're telling people who already earn less than $15,600 or so a year that they're supposed to look for work because why? Does it occur to this corrupt, cynical SOB that those people earning less than that are already screwed by their fast food and Wal-Mart overlords? This is nothing more than yet another way to shame people who are already struggling with poverty. There's more.
Basically, the way Corbett plans to roll this out, people who qualify for the Medicaid expansion will still select their insurance from the exchange and will be expected to pay some amount toward it -- about $25 per month. But they will be expected to be working. If they're unfortunate enough to be among the unemployed or worse, a healthy unemployed worker, it sounds as though they'll only be eligible for substandard coverage.
Corbett officials said the plan is to revise Pennsylvania's Medicaid program so that it has just two options: a more basic plan for people who don't have major medical needs, and a more robust plan for people who do.
Officials said the coverage will match a federally-endorsed set of Medicaid benefits. They pledged it will include mental health benefits and drug and alcohol abuse treatment.
Oh, and one feature of this Medicaid expansion-not-really program is that doctors will be allowed to apologize for mistakes without risking a lawsuit. There's some tort reform right there for you. Imagine the possibilities. Sorry patient, I amputated your leg instead of removing your appendix. So sorry. Now move on.
Corbett also has not set a timeline for implementing his plan, but I guarantee you it'll be built into the next budget so he can crow about how he paid off his cronies, balanced the budget, and screwed poor people just in time for the next election.