Corbett floats Medicaid changes

    Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed changes designed to make Pennsylvania’s Medicaid health-care program less expensive.

    One in six Pennsylvanians gets some sort of health care through the state’s Medicaid program. That’s about 2.2 million people.

    Michael Race, a spokesman with the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, said the state needs to rein in Medicaid spending.

    One idea, he said, is Corbett’s proposal to restrict Medicaid prescription medication coverage to six drugs per year.

    “For instance, if you limit the amount of medications that people can receive, that is some built-in incentive for them to make healthy lifestyle choices that will move them off those medications,” said Race. “If you are on 10 medications and you only need to be on three or four, right now, there is no incentive to wean yourself off those other five or six.”

    Race said Corbett’s proposal includes exceptions for people who are in serious medical situations, but he said Medicaid shouldn’t mean a “blank check.”

    Members of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network worry Corbett’s proposals will backfire, cause people to skimp on care and lead to more expensive care in the long term. Members of the network support the federal health-care law which Corbett challenged when he was attorney general.

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