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New Pennsylvania Governor Will Replace Medicaid Waiver with Traditional Expansion

By Rebecca Adams, CQ Roll Call

February 10, 2015 -- Pennsylvania's newly elected Democratic governor intends to replace the Medicaid expansion plan put in place in by his Republican predecessor with a more straightforward proposal.

Gov. Tom Wolf will convert three options in the plan by former Gov. Tom Corbett into one. Corbett had used Medicaid dollars to buy private plans for some beneficiaries through the new private health plan marketplace created under the health care law.

Wolf said that Corbett’s plan was confusing, bureaucratic, created unnecessary hurdles for people, and created glitches that resulted in the delay of care for some people.

“Today is the first step toward simplifying a complicated process and ensuring hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians have greater access to the health insurance they need,” said Wolf. “Our approach will alleviate confusion, remove unnecessary red tape, and streamline the system so that people can see a doctor when they are sick and health care professionals have more time to concentrate on providing quality care.”

The Medicaid agency is also working with the commonwealth’s health care providers and hospitals to shift people enrolled in Corbett’s private coverage option into a traditional Medicaid expansion. The agency said the transition will occur over a longer period of time to ensure that individuals are clearly informed of these changes and they do not experience any gap in coverage. 

“We are committed to ensuring an orderly and efficient transition for every Pennsylvanian receiving health care coverage through the commonwealth,” said Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Ted Dallas. “We are already at work making changes to our eligibility systems that will take effect this spring. This will enable us to transition individuals participating in the General Assistance and SelectPlan programs to the new health plan.” 

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