Here’s What Gov. Corbett’s Health-Care Rejection Means
Gov. Corbett issued a seething statement regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act yesterday, as he rejected a state-run insurance exchange. In his rejection letter, he noted that the federal government continuously dismissed his administration’s questions and that Health and Human Services secretary Katherine Sebelius admitted the laws we know today may not be final. “Healthcare reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning,” Corbett said. “Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more. They deserve informed decision making and a strong plan that responsibly uses taxpayer dollars.” He added: “It would be irresponsible to put Pennsylvanians on the hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not been fully written.”
Corbett’s decision made Pennsylvania the 22nd state to reject a state implementation of the bill. When passed, Congress intended for states and the feds to work together in oversight and implementation of the health insurance marketplaces. So what’s this mean for you? Essentially, Pennsylvanians who need the program will rely on an exchange created by the federal government to choose their insurer—not one created by the state.
Groups like the Koch Bros.-funded Americans for Prosperity touted Corbett’s act—and even sent out an email noting the governor’s decision before he made it public, according to the Inquirer. Americans for Prosperity supported the governor’s initial bid in 2010, and has fought against health care reform every step of the way.
Oddly, the state has both applied for and received $33 million from the federal government to implement the exchange.
Call us crazy, but this is probably a good thing. The health care law is meant to run like a machine, with each section of the federal and state governments affiliated, employers, businesses and health care providers playing a role to make sure everyone is covered and costs go down. But the way the Republican Party often works in the face of liberal government bureaucracy is to intentionally mess things up, block certain sections of legislation, then call their failure in government a failure of government. If Gov. Corbett, who sued to block the law when it initially passed in 2009, had put a state exchange into place and it had worked in spite of him, good luck in the 2014 primary, or ever holding a right-wing job again. He couldn’t take that chance.
And good thing. As noted by Keystone Politics, “[Pennsylvania Republicans] could’ve really fragmented the insurance market, they could’ve passed a really stingy essential benefits package, they could’ve written really weak consumer protection rules, etc. Now Obama’s HHS is going to be in charge of all those details, and Pennsylvanians will have access to the sort of well-designed insurance exchange Obama and the Democrats intended.” The blogger, Jon Geeting, adds that Democrats will have a chance to put an exchange together themselves, “when there aren’t so many Republicans.”
Plus, the decision can be reviewed annually—and reversed.
Now, the governor needs tell us whether or not he’s accepting the Medicaid expansion. Failure to do so would leave many poor Pennsylvanians between total poverty and a dire situation just where they are.