Governor Tom Corbett unveiled a plan to increase access to quality, affordable healthcare options for all Pennsylvanians he calls Healthy Pennsylvania.
“My plan for a Healthy Pennsylvania works to ensure that every child has access to healthcare coverage and that every Pennsylvanian has access to a family doctor or healthcare provider,” Corbett said. “It’s a Pennsylvania-based plan that is based on common-sense reforms, creates real healthcare choices, reduces government bureaucracy and provides a pathway to independence for all Pennsylvanians.”
The plan does not expand Medicaid in the traditional sense, but focuses on improving access, ensuring quality, and providing affordability by eliminating the mandatory six-month waiting period for Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), supporting older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities by improving access to home and community-based long-term care, convening a “Healthy Pennsylvania Summit” to promote preventative health best practices, implementing other Medicaid reforms, and other initiatives.
In a statement issued earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association called this a critical time to help people in need:
Today, unemployment and economic hardship has touched the lives of record numbers of families in Pennsylvania. One of the most devastating consequences of diminished income or losing a job is the loss of access to health care. Thousands of Pennsylvanians are uninsured. Our needs are great, but Pennsylvania’s resources are limited. We must make the most of what we do have to get us through these tough times … States should have the independence and flexibility to use tax dollars for the greatest good. But we should not dismiss the opportunity to help Pennsylvanians today.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the PCHA is a catalyst that enables the Catholic health ministry to continue and strengthen its vital role as Christ’s healing presence in the mission of the Church and communities served. Every person, including the poor and vulnerable, has a right to adequate health care, a right that flows from the sanctity of life and human dignity. PCHA’s member facilities care for a high percentage of Medicaid qualified patients; serving the poor is a hallmark of Catholic healthcare.
PCC and PCHA support the governor’s plan and his goal of helping more uninsured Pennsylvanians gain access to health care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services must approve the proposal for the reforms to take place and some components require legislative action by the General Assembly.