On Tuesday, September 25 around 50 nurses from across the state gathered at our Capitol to send a strong message to Governor Corbett – Improve Quality Patient Care, Expand Medicaid Now!
In June 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid provisions but limited the penalties the federal government can impose on states for failing to implement the Medicaid expansion.
As a result, some Governors, including Governor Corbett, are considering passing up the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which could cover 600,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians and lower the amount of uncompensated care provided by hospitals. (Pennsylvania hospitals annually provide around $500 million in charity care for which they do not receive reimbursements.)
For frontline caregivers, this translates to less resources to invest in staffing and equipment. “We have had a problem of short staffing for years which leads to stress, burnout and unnecessary turnover,” said Jamie Coleman, Registered Nurse from Hershey Medical Center, “This is not good for nurses and not good for patients. More insured patients means more resources to provide quality patient care at our hospitals.”
Although Governor Corbett has yet to make a decision, support for Medicaid expansion is growing in the state legislature. In July, State Representative Dan Frankel from Allegheny County introduced HB 2557, legislation that would have Pennsylvania expand Medicaid as per the Affordable Care Act that would cover uninsured Pennsylvanians up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line. His proposal is estimated to offer health insurance coverage for up to 600,000 more Pennsylvanians.