A high-level look at Medicaid expansion

By - Last modified: June 24, 2013 at 10:24 AM

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Amy Gulli
Amy Gulli

If you missed it this morning, we had a great live chat with Andrew Carter, president and CEO of The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.

Among the topics Carter discussed was Medicaid expansion and its budgetary effects at both the state and federal levels.

Our health care reporter, Heather Stauffer — who moderated the live chat — asked Carter a question about what HAP's priorities are in the state and federal negotiations. Here's what Carter said:

"At the state level, HAP is working with the administration and the legislature to reauthorize the statewide Hospital Quality Care Assessment that helps fund health care in Pennsylvania and has supported Medicaid payments to hospitals. Over the past three years, $339 million from this assessment has supported the state's General Fund. Continuing this program is a win-win for hospitals and the state, as long as the state share remains reasonable.

"On the federal front we are working with the Pennsylvania congressional delegation to develop a fix for the long-broken Medicare physician payment policy. We also are working to make sure that federal spending for Medicare and Medicaid is sufficient for hospitals to provide quality care."

One of our chat participants then asked Carter this:

"Does the governor's position to not expand Medicaid, which will cost Pennsylvania $16.5 billion in federal payments vs. the $ 1.64 billion investment to expand Medicaid, make sense to HAP?" (Heather Stauffer noted, by the way, that "the governor and his office say they haven't made but are still making the decision — and also that it has been reported that at this point expansion likely couldn't happen before 2015.")

Carter responded:

"The hospital community strongly supports Medicaid expansion, because we know that health insurance enables individuals to receive the right care at the right time in the right place. Plus, the strong, positive economic impact on the Commonwealth makes a compelling case to implement expansion as soon as possible.

"While there is some cost to the state, the expected increase in revenues will more than cover the direct costs to the state of expanding Medicaid."

In our Health Care Report, which was published Friday, we included a story about the options Gov. Tom Corbett has said he is considering. Among them is copying what Arkansas is doing. Click here to go to the Health Care Report, then go to page 14 for the story.

What do you think Corbett should do about expanding Medicaid? Have you agreed with his decisions thus far? What do you think of modeling Pennsylvania's plan after Arkansas'?

To replay the full live chat and read all the issues Carter talked about, click here.

Amy Gulli is the managing editor of the Central Penn Business Journal. Contact her at amy@centralpennbusiness.com or follow her on Twitter, @amygulli.

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