Tom Corbett, in a final effort to push his alternative to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, will now ask the Obama administration to formally approve it. It would function similarly to the current Medicaid expansion–which 25 states, including all of PA’s neighbors have agreed to–which offers Medicaid to all those living within 133% of the poverty line. Except for a couple thorny factors.
One, under Corbettcare, recipients would have to pay small-ish monthly premiums ($6-$12 per month) to enroll. Two, Corbett wants to use federal dollars to create a private insurance marketplace, rather than going through Medicaid itself. Three, the recipients would have to be engaged in a search for work to qualify. Here’s where the problems arise.
First, Corbett’s trying to use federal dollars to create a work-search requirement, something that’s probably illegal. Second, private coverage is more expensive (and more lucrative to health care providers) than Medicaid, raising the question of how Corbett plans on paying for it. Indeed, considering the federal government was planning on picking up more almost the entire tab for the simple Medicaid expansion, one has to wonder if that would have just been cheaper in the long run than engaging with this hybrid plan. While the Obama admin has approved a similar plan in Arkansas, that state didn’t try to mandate work-search requirements.
Update: Here’s Corbett’s official application, which includes a detailed description of his proposal.