Corbett seeks to keep Pa. kids out of Medicaid

    Gov. Tom Corbett wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Thursday asking her not to force Pennsylvania kids into the Medicaid program.

    According to the Corbett administration’s analysis, the health law will shift about 70,000 kids from the Children’s Health Insurance Program into Medicaid—called MA or Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania.

    “We are transferring them because the law says if their income level is from 100 percent to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, they now have to be transferred into MA,” state Insurance Department spokeswoman Rosanne Placey wrote in an email.

    “It’s potentially transferring them into a program without their knowledge or approval,” Placey said.

    The Corbett Administration sent the letter to media outlets late yesterday, but an HHS spokesman says the Obama administration has yet to receive the letter.

    Placey said the move may severely limit the choice of doctors kids can see.

    “The issue here is potentially the robust provider network that CHIP offers. It’s on a par with commercial insurance products,” Placey said.

    Critics say Medicaid doesn’t adequately reimburse doctors for their time and costs, so some physicians don’t accept Medicaid patients.

    The federal health law keeps CHIP eligibility standards the same from the time of the law’s implementation through 2019. But, in words sure to worry some, Corbett wrote that the ACA implementation may mean the “de facto end” to CHIP in Pennsylvania.

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