Pa. running out of time to decide on Medicaid expansion

    Legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle in the Pennsylvania Senate are noting the time is fast approaching to make a final decision about a potential expansion of Medicaid.

    For months, Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration has insisted that the door is not closed to a Medicaid expansion.Senate Republican Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi — not exactly a public cheerleader for the move — said recently the governor needs to say soon whether he’ll allow hundreds of thousands more Pennsylvanians to enroll in the program.

    “If we were to do Medicaid expansion in this year’s budget, there’s a tremendous amount of work to do in factoring that decision into the budget process and so that – the practical deadline over that decision being made is fast approaching,” said Pileggi, R-Delaware.

    Senate Democratic Minority Leader Jay Costa agrees.

    “I mean he’s exactly right. We have to make that decision within the next couple of weeks,” said Costa. “When we come back — by the second week of June would be the outside period of time where that decision has to be made, at the very outside.”

    Lawmakers are working on the upcoming state budget now.

    Costa, D-Allegheny, said if changes are going to take effect in the spending plan, there’s a lot of work to be done — such as identifying cost savings and making adjustments to the rest of the budget.

    The state’s Independent Fiscal Office says Pennsylvania could save hundreds of millions of dollars by opting in to the expanded Medicaid program.

    But the Corbett administration says that’s contingent on assumptions federal officials haven’t yet confirmed.

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