Pennsylvania Republicans have decided against expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, arguing that covering more low-income residents would cost the state too much money. But last week, Gov. Tom Corbett (R) went a step further, telling a local news station that poor residents who are already enrolled in the program, including pregnant women and breast cancer patients, are receiving too much free care and should pay into the system.
“What I hear all the time coming out of the administration in Washington is that it’s the working poor [who benefit from Medicaid],” Corbett told WTAE, a local ABC affiliate, on Saturday. “Yes it is working, but you should be investing five, ten dollars in co-pay to understand that you go to to the hospital or the doctors, you just can’t keep going and going and going and think everything is going to be covered. You have to know that you have some interest in what’s going on.”
Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare website has a dedicated webpage to “Copayment Information for Medical Assistance Recipients,” which explains that while children, pregnant women, and breast cancer patients, among others, don’t pay the fees, many beneficiaries do contribute for the services they receive. Corbett appears to suggest that the exempt enrollees are abusing the free services and that everyone should pay more for health care.
In 2012, Corbett had to shelve a plan that would have required “thousands of families to help pay for Medicaid coverage for children with autism and other disabilities.”